Hockey is heating up in America. Both participation and attendance are up, for one. And fans who want to see the NHL live are willing to pay a lot, as their ticket prices exceed those of the NBA, on average.

It’s an exciting time of year for hockey fans, too, as the Stanley Cup finals are approaching. One of the teams, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, has the chance to become the second team to win the Stanley Cup during its inaugural season. In contrast, their opponents, the Washington Capitals, have never won the finals but have qualified for the playoffs 27 times.

So for all the diehard and rookie fans, WalletHub crunched the numbers to determine the best places for hockey enthusiasts. We ranked 73 U.S. cities based on 21 key indicators of a good hockey city. Our data set ranges from ticket prices to stadium capacity to the performance level of each city’s teams. Read on for the winners, commentary from a panel of sports experts and a full description of our methodology.

Top 20 Cities for Hockey Fans

1 Boston, MA 11 Philadelphia, PA
2 Detroit, MI 12 San Jose, CA
3 Pittsburgh, PA 13 St. Paul, MN
4 New York, NY 14 Denver, CO
5 Chicago, IL 15 Sunrise, FL
6 Newark, NJ 16 Tampa, FL
7 St. Louis, MO 17 Los Angeles, CA
8 Buffalo, NY 18 Las Vegas, NV
9 Anaheim, CA 19 Dallas, TX
10 Washington, DC 20 Glendale, AZ

Best vs. Worst

  • The Washington Capitals’ performance level65.04 percent, is 1.7 times better than the Buffalo Sabres’, at 37.80 percent.
  • The Denver Pioneers’ performance level64.02 percent, is 3.2 times better than the Niagara Purple Eagles’, at 19.86 percent.
  • San Jose, Calif., Denver & Anaheim, Calif. have the lowest average ticket price for an NHL game, $94, which is 2.6 times lower than in Boston, the city with the highest at $243.
  • Chicago has the highest attendance rate for NHL games, 109.80 percent, which is 1.5 times higher than in Raleigh, N.C., the city with the lowest at 71.30 percent.
  • Chicago has the highest team franchise value, $1,000 million, which is 3.3 times higher than in Glendale, Ariz., the city with the lowest at $300 million.