Are the Toronto Maple Leafs The Cause for Decreasing Voter Turnout!?!

Let's talk about two of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s favourite things, politics and hockey. The Toronto Maple Leafs is the most fiscally successful hockey franchise in the NHL. Despite winning the second most Stanley Cups in NHL history, the last Stanley Cup victory was in 1967. Similarly, since the 1960s, voter turnout has declined from 79% to 61%.  Coincidence? I would ask your local hockey guru.

In the 2007-2008 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded three draft picks for Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell combined. Both Toskala and Bell were flops in the long run. Toskala only playing for the Leafs for one season as their starter and Mark Bell only played for the Marlies. Similar to the Toronto Maple Leafs bad luck in the 2007-2008 season, the 2008 election hosted the lowest voter turnout since Confederation, at 58.8% of the population. Could this have been a coincidence or do the Leafs affect our turnout patterns?

In the most recent election, voter turnout slightly increased from the worst ever, 58.8%, to 61.1%. Great! So the Leafs should slightly improve as well! Slightly, would be the correct word in that sentence. In 2008 the Toronto Maple Leafs finished last in their division. In the 2010-2011 season, the Maple Leafs moderately improved to second last. Another coincidence, or is it…

 Our very scientific chart...

Our very scientific chart...

In essence, the connection is clear. When the Maple Leafs begin to perform better and start winning, as so many hope for every year, the voter turnout will follow. This suits the country that lives, sleeps, breathes and bleeds hockey. It would only make sense for the country’s politics to follow the most valuable hockey team in the league. Conversely, if we really want the Maple Leafs to do better, more of us should vote! The elections before the decrease in the sixties occurred at the same time as when the Leafs won the Stanley Cup! Enough praying to whatever hockey God you may believe in, go vote and the Leafs luck will change!


Vote Savvy does not believe that there is any kind of connection between the Toronto Maple Leafs performance and the voter turnout of the Canadian population. This is purely an article for fun. Do not use these comparisons and connections as support for any argument.

Blog Post was written by Shane Liquornik, a political science student at the University of Guelph and an awesome Vote Savvy Volunteer.