The National Hockey League lockout has cost the sport almost two million Canadian fans, a survey shows.
The report, conducted by Solutions Research Group among 1,776 Canadians between May and June, 2005, shows 55% of Canadian sports fans aged 12 or older identified hockey as one of their favourite sports, down 13 points from 68% in a survey conducted in 2003.
"By being out of sight, hockey has been out of mind, but more than that, a lot of fans got very angry with the NHL," Jeff Vidler, partner with Solutions Research Group, said.
"It's time to kiss and make up with the fans and the league is making the first move with the rule changes and the new draft system. But the changes will have to deliver a more entertaining and responsive product."