NHL Playoff Pressure – Not Just For The Players

The following is a post written by Dr. David Greenberg of St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. Dr. Greenberg is providing tips for fans on how to deal with stress while watching their team during the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs as part of StubHub’s #FansWithHeart campaign. You can follow @StubHubCA on twitter for a chance to win a StubHub branded heart rate monitor. 

This year’s NHL playoffs have been a little out of the ordinary for Canadian hockey fans. After 2016, when no Canadian teams managed to qualify for the post-season, this is the first year since 2004 when as many as five Canadian teams made the playoffs. However, while this could (and should) be seen as a source of celebration for the hometown fans, it also provides for a great deal of stress while watching the games, and ultimately disappointment for the fans of all but the one team that takes home Lord Stanley’s Cup.

As we move through the second round, three Canadian teams have already been eliminated, and research commissioned by StubHub confirms that the effects on Canadian hockey fans may have been greater than one might imagine. Thirty-three per cent of Canadians surveyed said that they found just watching the Playoffs stressful, almost as stressful as paying their mortgage for teams in a game seven, and 25% suffered from “Post Elimination Blues”. So, since you’re not going to want to miss a minute of playoff action, how can you help to manage the stress associated with watching and/or deal with the premature end of your team’s season?

Here are a few tips that will keep you healthy and help you to cope:

Exercise is Key

It’s a fact that exercise, in addition to all the other benefits it confers (i.e. burning off the wings and beer), is among the best strategies for managing stress. If you’ve already got a well-established routine try your best to stick with it. If you’ve been thinking about starting, now’s a perfect time. Current recommendations are 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, that would be walking at a pace that would be as if you were trying to catch a bus.  Go for a walk in-between periods or before/after the game with a fellow fan and you can vent and get your fitness in at the same time. 

Sleep is Important

It’s not a huge problem in the first couple of rounds for fans of local teams, and even overtime games that start at 7pm end at a reasonable hour. However, what if you are an Oilers fan who lives in Toronto? Games that don’t even start until after 10pm local time can really take their toll. The problem for most people is that they have a “Hard Start” to their day, that is a time they have to get up to go to work, regardless of what time they get to sleep. Be aware of it when planning the day after a game, and perhaps try to catch up on some sleep on the off nights.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

I’d be more than happy to have a beer with you watching a game so this isn’t about me being an anchor. However, between 15-20% of the people surveyed said they drink more during the playoffs. Remember that Canadian Safe Drinking Guidelines recommend no more than three drinks for men or two drinks for women in any one sitting. It will also impact your sleep, not to mention the next morning, and for those of you that worry about this, it’s a lot of calories when you can’t burn them off. A good strategy to pace yourself and prevent feeling lousy in the morning is to drink a pint glass of ice water between drinks. It will fill you up, and keep you well hydrated.

I recognize how hard some of these things are to do, and I’m not naïve enough to think that thousands of Canadian hockey fans are going to start adopting a healthier lifestyle in the middle of the playoffs. But please give it some thought, and, anything you can do to adopt any parts of these changes will help. In the meantime, be thankful for the opportunity to watch your team and, win or lose, enjoy every minute of the best hockey of the year.

Yours in Good Health,

Dr. Dave

About Dr. David Greenberg:

Dr. David Greenberg recently became the Medical Spokesperson for thebutterflycares.org an international organization which raises funds and awareness for brain injuries both physical (Concussion) and non-physical (PTSD) He is also the Chairman of the Board for the Dr. David Greenberg Hive Charitable Foundation. The Foundation distributes needed funds and works with other like-minded charities helping those affected by Brain Trauma.

Want to track your stress during the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Follow @StubHubCA on Twitter for a chance to receive a StubHub-branded heart rate monitor.  

Not for the Faint of Heart: Stanley Cup Playoffs Take a Toll on the Health of Canadians, StubHub Poll Finds

StubHub provides heart rate monitors to fans during round two of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Toronto, ON; April 28, 2017 – It’s not easy being a hockey fan during the playoffs. A recent MARU/Matchbox survey completed by StubHub, the world’s largest ticket marketplace, revealed that 33 per cent of Canadians find watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs stressful. However, the potential impact to fans health doesn’t end with the final goal, as one in four Canadians revealed they feel depressed when their team is eliminated from the postseason. In Toronto, the number of fans experiencing the post-elimination blues registered at 31 per cent.

To help keep postseason stress in check, StubHub is giving away a limited number of heart rate monitors via social media to StubHub users in Ottawa and Edmonton as part of its #FansWithHeart campaign so they can keep their health in check as their hometown teams compete for playoff glory.

Other highlights from the survey include:

Just one more drink, please. 1 in 5 Ottawa residents (21%) consume more alcohol than normal as their team competes in the playoffs. 1 in 7 Edmonton residents do the same. 1 in 8 Canadians (12%) lose sleep during the playoffs, especially those living in Toronto (19%).

When hockey feels like making a mortgage payment. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is nearly as stressful for Canadians as paying their mortgage. 1 in 2 Canadians (50%) indicate they would feel stressed with their team competing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. 56% of Canadians feel stressed paying their mortgage.

Hold that thought, I need to check the score. 3 in 10 Canadians (31%) check score updates regularly during work or school hours, when their team is playing. 1 in 5 (21%) Ottawa residents have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“The survey reminds us just how much Canadians love hockey and live experiences,” says Cameron Papp, Communications Manager for StubHub Canada. “The impact of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Canadians’ health is real, and we want to ensure fans are equipped to deal with the potential stress the playoffs bring.”

StubHub has teamed up with a number of Canadian doctors, including Dr. David Greenberg in Toronto, to provide fans with tips to relieve playoff induced stress.

“First and foremost, hockey fans need to try to accept that there are events you can’t control,” said Dr. David Greenberg, St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. “However, stress can be managed by eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise.”

Other tips include:

  • If you feel overwhelmed, take a break from the game and go for a walk to cool down.
  • Try to maintain a positive attitude, no matter what the score of the game is.
  • Take deep breaths and visualize your team scoring the winning goal.

 

 

A DEEPER DIVE

METHODOLOGY

An online omnibus survey was conducted between April 19th and April 21st, 2017. StubHub commissioned a survey through MARU/Matchbox among 3,021 Canadians aged 18+. Results were broken out by region, gender, age, income, and education in order to make demographic comparisons. The estimated margin of error for the total sample is +/- 1.8%. The estimated margin of error for the sample in each of the cities with teams competing in the playoffs are as follows: Montreal (+/- 4.7%), Toronto (+/- 4.8%), Edmonton (+/- 9.0%), Calgary (+/- 9.7%), and Ottawa (+/- 9.7%).

MORE FINDINGS

 

  • 1 in 7 Canadians (14%) have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 21% of Ottawa residents have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 17% of Toronto residents have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 15% of Edmonton residents have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 15% of Calgary residents have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 14% of Montreal residents have cancelled plans with family/friends to watch their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

  • 1 in 7 Canadians (14%) drink alcohol more often than normal when their team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 21% of Ottawa residents drink alcohol more often than normal when their team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 16% of Montreal residents drink alcohol more often than normal when their team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 16% of Toronto residents drink alcohol more often than normal when their team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 14% of Edmonton residents drink alcohol more often than normal when their team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    • 12% of Calgary residents drink alcohol more often than normal when their team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

  • 1 in 2 Canadians (50%) say their team competing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals would be stressful
    • More Toronto residents would feel stressed with their team competing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals (59%), than Montreal residents (50%).
    • 54% of Ottawa residents would feel stressed with their team competing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
    • 53% of Calgary residents would feel stressed with their team competing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
    • 52% of Edmonton residents would feel stressed with their team competing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

  • 1 in 3 Canadians (33%) say watching their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is stressful.
    • 37% of Ottawa residents say watching their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is stressful.
    • 37% of Edmonton residents say watching their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is stressful.