The swift-paced game centered around a puck weighing around 5.5 ounces is a nation’s lifeline. Since a very long time, Hockey has been a major sport played in the second largest nation of the world. Despite steep declines in viewership, a good deal of Canadians tune into the sport. Nevertheless, one might poise a question, Why the decline? Is it the Great Canadian Drought?
30 Years ago, if one might ask a Canadian, What is most devastating thing in Hockey? They would have definitely said it was Gretzky’s trade to Kings. But today, as viewership is on the decline. As hockey tends to attract lower number of older audience, ones who used to watch religiously. I’d say that the Great Canadian Drought is the most devastating thing in hockey.
A Canadian team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since Montreal Canadiens won their 23rd overall in 1992-93. As we head into the 2022-23 Stanley Cup Final Four – none of them are Canadian teams. Meaning, this season marks the 30th year of the so called Great Canadian Drought
Post the 1992-93 season, Canadian Teams have made it to the final six times. The Canucks reached finals in 1994 and 2011, losing to Rangers and Bruins respectively. Edmonton and Ottawa made finals in consecutive seasons – 2006 and 2007 – yet disappoinment followed on both times. Even Flames and Canadiens could not win the cup when they reached finals in 2004 and 2021. The other Canadian teams – Toronto haven’t made finals since 1966-67 and Winnipeg since inception in 1999-2000.
The 2022-23 season saw Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg make the post season. Winnipeg Jets went down in the first round, giving not even a glimmer of hope. However, the hopes placed on the Oilers had been pretty high. With the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatl, fans and Canadians hoped they would go the long distance. However, the dream died when Vegas Golden Knights defeated them. The last time the Oilers won the cup have been the miracle cup after Gretzky’s trade.
Maple Leafs riding on the Marner high ended their first-round curse after a very long time. Words fail to emphasize how much of a hope the victory against Lightning gave the Leafs. Yet, it all came crashing down when they faced the Cats. At the end, it leaves a question, When will this drought end?
A AI predicts that the drought might be over in 2024 and Toronto will beat St. Louis Blues in Game 7. The AI continues to make a statement by handing the Oilers a trophy in 2025. If the AI’s predictions come into reality, Canadians could also expect a all-Canadian final in 2028.
Apart from the predictions, Oilers stand a good chance. It won’t be a surprise if they lift the trophy next time around. They have a healthy squad who can do it. Until it happens, until a Canadian outfit lifts the giant silver cup, The Great Canadian Drought will continue…..
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