No Canadian teams in playoffs? No problem, NHL fans say
Many NHL fans support American-based teams
The NHL hockey playoffs are beginning and for the first time since 1970 there are no Canadian-based teams in the post-season.
Flames fans may be furious.
Senators supporters saddened.
But a visit to a lunch hour pickup hockey game in Regina found many fans aren't letting a playoff year without Canadian teams ruin the spring ritual.
Matt Makuch, who wears a hoodie that says "I may live in Saskatchewan but on game day my heart and soul is in Detroit," is a Red Wings fan.
His team is in the playoffs.
"I doesn't matter to me at all that there aren't Canadian teams in the playoffs," Makuch said. "I've been a Red Wings fans for 21 years. They were so good when I was younger."
Despite his allegiance to the Red Wings, Makuch is picking the Los Angeles Kings to win the Stanley Cup.
Taylor Folk was sporting an Arizona Coyotes jersey over his goalie equipment.
He's a fan of Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith.
Folk is also a Calgary Flames fan and says the Flames' absence from the post-season won't change his playoff viewing habits.
I like watching hockey no matter who's playing.- Taylor Folk
"It doesn't overly matter to me," Folk said. "I'm just a fan of the sport in general. I like watching hockey no matter who's playing."
Brandon Holtby agrees.
He supports the Edmonton Oilers, who haven't qualified for the playoffs in a decade.
But, with or without the Oilers — or any Canadian-based team — Holtby remains excited about the NHL playoffs.
"I just like hockey," Holtby said. "If you look on the American-based teams, half of them are Canadians anyway.
Holtby, who played in net during the pickup game, is no relation to Washington Capitals' Lloydminster-born goaltender Braden Holtby.
But Holtby — Brandon — is pulling for the Caps to win the cup.
"Considering my last name, I gotta go with Washington," he said. "I think it's their time."