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America's top hockey cities? Pittsburgh...and Chestnut Hill

WalletHub has ranked the best and worst U.S. cities for hockey fans according to ticket prices and team performance.

Detroit may fancy itself as Hockey Town. Buffalo may lead the way every time the TV ratings are tabulated. But neither of those puck-mad burgs can hold a candle to Chestnut Hill in a statistical ranking of America's best (and worst) hockey cities.

That’s right. Chestnut Hill.

Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The village, which is probably a place you’ve never heard of unless you’re from the Bay State or a fan of Boston College athletics, somehow ranked second to Pittsburgh in the analysis of hockey fever in 74 U.S. cities conducted by WalletHub, a website that purports to help folks make smarter financial decisions. And apparently really likes to rank things.

The study identified “18 relevant metrics” across two key categories, Teams & Performance and Costs & Fan Engagement, and assigned various weights to come up with the results.

The published report didn’t specify why Chestnut Hill—which isn’t even an incorporated city but a glorified neighborhood encompassing parts of three municipalities for cryin' out loud—earned such a glowing rating, other than to reveal that it ranked seventh in the Teams & Performance category (BC was knocked out in the NCAA East Regional semifinal this year) and third in Costs & Fan Engagement. (Maybe beer is cheap at Kelley Rink?)  Whatever the reasoning, the numbers show the Hill outshined more traditional centers like Detroit (7th), Buffalo (13th), Philadelphia (30th) and Minneapolis (45th).

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WalletHub did reveal a few “key stats” ir uncovered though its analysis, including:

  • The Anaheim Ducks’ performance levelis two times better than the Arizona Coyotes’. 
  • The Minnesota State Mavericks’ performance levelis five times better than the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers’.
  • The average ticket price for an NHL game is three times higher in Boston than in Sunrise, Fla.
  • The attendance rate for NHL games is two times higher in Chicago than in Sunrise, Fla.
  • Thenumber of sports bars per capita is 16 times higher in Big Rapids, Mich., than in Duluth, Minn.

That sports bars per capita number weighed heavily in the rankings. Big Rapids, which apparently is a real place that is home to both Ferris State University and the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, ended up 12th overall.

The bottom 10 list features a few surprises, including Erie, PA ranking 64th. Apparently the chance to watch Connor McDavid for $15 a seat during the past three years didn’t resonate with the surveyors. And we always thought last-place Springfield was a great hockey town ourselves.

Check out these lists showing WalletHub's highest and lowest-rated locales:

Best cities for hockey fans

1. Pittsburgh, PA

2. Chestnut Hill, MA

3. St. Louis, MO

4. Tampa, FL

5. Boston, MA

6. St. Paul, MN

7. Detroit, MI

8. Denver, CO

9. Chicago, IL

10. Anaheim, CA

Worst cities for hockey fans

65. Waltham, MA

66. Erie, PA

67. Duluth, MN

68. Hartford, CT

69. Princeton, NJ

70. Huntsville, AL

71. Cambridge, MA

72. Fairfield, CT

73. Anchorage, AK

74. Springfield, MA