Canada Vs US: Ice Hockey Sports in Canada

Top 7 Sports in Canada and Their Impact on Canadian Culture

Sports in Canada are divided into two main seasons, a few for summer and most for winter. Ice hockey and Lacrosse are the top two. Did you know there was a quarrel between Ice Hockey and Lacrosse supporters for the position of National Sport of Canada that spanned decades?

It was resolved with Ice hockey being declared the National Winter Sport and Lacrosse Being announced as the National Summer Sport in Canada. You must have seen at least one Hollywood movie with a scene of Ice Hockey being played, I can bet that there are 7 in 10 chances of that scene depicting Canada.

Canadian Sports Culture

Ice hockey may be the predominant sport enjoyed in Canada, but there is more to the anthropology of the culture of sports in Canada than ice hockey. Baseball, Lacrosse, Golf, Cricket, Curling, and Soccer are some of the most popular sports that you can come across being played on your trip to Canada.

Ice Hockey

Anthropology of Sports in Canada: Ice Hockey Canada

Just like Chinese food that we refer to is probably called just food by the Chinese people in their country, ice hockey is referred to as just hockey in either French or English in Canada. The game transcends all biases. You can find women, children, men, and all alike playing it anywhere. It’s considered a national pastime.

History of Ice hockey in Canada

The game has roots originating from 19 century. It’s one of the most popular games played in the country. As long as the temperature is moderate to low enough, you can find people playing the game year-round. Its origin was influenced by many games comprising of sticks and balls from indigenous as well as United States sports. Eventually, ice hockey was birth in Montreal as a contemporary sport.

Ice hockey has its origin influenced by field hockey games played by the Europeans during the colonization. A one-of-a-kind stick-and-ball game was also played by indigenous people of Mi’kmaq which is also considered a possible origin. The first-ever indoor games of ice hockey occurred on March 3, 1875. It was managed by James Christian who was a student from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The first indoor hockey game was organized at the Victoria skating rink.

Eventually, the game started gaining popularity. In the 1880s in Montreal, annual competitions for ice hockey was started being held. This later evolved into the Stanley Cup which is also known for being the oldest trophy, in relevance with the North American sports.

kids playing Ice hockey in Canada
by Montreal Gazette

International presence

While players were being paid already off the records since the 1890s, officially professionalism in ice hockey started from the 1900s. The international professional Hockey League started with the collaboration of five cities in Ontario and the United states In 1904. The IPHL polarized most of the good Canadian ice hockey players. Canada had to rethink its rules for the professional sport, and soon many ice hockey associations came to be.

The IPHL had to be closed down in only three years since its beginning. However, the Canadian populace had already gotten a taste for it and was more than eager to try the same on their own.

Failure, Restructuring, and Rise again

In 1908, the Ontario Professional Hockey League was created. Side by side with the national and international hockey League, many regional hockey associations also began. These Canadian hockey associations attracted many talented professionals of ice hockey, which in the end became the cause of IHL closing down.

The Winnipeg Falcons won the Olympics gold medal for Canada, in 1920, which occurred in Antwerp. This game remained untainted by ethnic discrimination that some of the other sports of that time were suffering from. During the Olympics in 1936 did not perform well enough to secure any positions. The national team performance was considered very lackluster. This became the reason that the Canadian amateur hockey Association had to rethink its strategies.

The Soviet Union announced the state-sponsored program for national ice hockey which changed the playing field. They began to rapidly dominate the Canadian teams which were club-based at the time. Canadian Prime Minister and the Soviet chief agreed on a friendly hockey series between the two countries during September 1972. While the Canadian aimed to display their supremacy in this game, the Soviet team surprised Canada and the world by winning the series.

It was called the Summit Series. This became a turning point for the Canadian hockey system. The government had to reinvent the entire system. From coaching, an organization to the system itself was re-evaluated and evolved as per need. Eventually, Canada returned to international competitions and in 2002, the team won the Olympic gold medal. Many of the trophies won by the national team have been preserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame which is situated in Toronto, Ontario.


Anthropology of Sports in Canada: Lacrosse in Canada
by sportsnet

This Sport has been a part of Canada ever since the mid-1800s. Up until the 1930s, field lacrosse was played, with the invention of box lacrosse during the 1930s, the game evolved. You can understand the popularity of the sport by the fact that in 1994, the Canadian government declared Lacrosse as its “ Summer Sport”. Canada is one of the special countries to have two national sports. Ice hockey is considered National Winter Sport.

History of Lacrosse in Canada

Lacrosse came before the Europeans colonized Canada. The First Nations people used to play lacrosse before the Europeans arrived. However, it wasn’t called Lacrosse back then, it was termed baggataway and tewaarathon. In 1843 a game of lacrosse between the First Nations and Europeans was played it was the first-ever such game to occur. With the establishment of the Montreal lacrosse club in 1956, the interest in the game kept increasing with time.

There were even lacrosse Association formations taking place from the mid-1860s. The National Lacrosse Association was launched in 1875. During the 1880s, the league was transformed into National Amateur Lacrosse Association. In no time, the game gained so much popularity that the fervor related to the game became nationwide. People of all classes, ethnicity, and gender started showing interest in playing and spectating the game.

International presence

The game became the most popular summer game in all of the countries by the 1890s. Two professional leagues were launched during the 1900s in Canada. The fact that lacrosse wasn’t played in schools Death became the reason for its collapse. The Canadian Lacrosse Association had to rethink its strategies and by 1931 dogs lacrosse was invented. The introduction of box lacrosse led to a huge surge in fans who became permanent spectators of box lacrosse.

Box lacrosse had many qualities from here to ice hockey fans which attracted them To this newly introduced lacrosse style. 21st century 2003 another became one of the participants in the world indoor lacrosse championship. A long-standing debate of the official “national game of Canada” ensued between ice hockey and lacrosse supporters. From 1964 the debate continued unresolved until 1994 with Bill C-212, which declared two national games for the country.

Ice hockey was declared the National Winter Sport and Lacrosse the National Summer Sport of Canada.  


Canadian sport soccer
Source: John Raoux/DW

Soccer in Canada is known as the highest participation sport in the country. On May 24, 1912, Canada Football Association was launched. However, soccer has been familiar to Canada back before that time in the country since 1876. According to the data by Canada Soccer yearbook in 2012, around 847,616 people were registered for playing soccer in Canada. The game enjoys high participation by both male and female players of the country, its ratio revolving around 59/41.

National competitions are held on both men’s and women’s soccer teams. These annual amateur competitions are called national championships. The senior women’s team of Canada completes performing for the Jubilee trophy while the senior men’s team of soccer in Canada competes for the challenge trophy.

The first national competition for soccer between men was played in 1913. However between women, it took occurred much later, a national competition was held in 1982. In the Olympics of St Louise in 1904, the soccer team of Canada won a gold medal.


Baseball in Canada
by CityNews Toronto

Baseball is one of the most popular games in Canada. You might think about the United States when you think of anything related to baseball, however, it has been a part of Canada since long ago. Did you know that the first-ever documented game of baseball in the world occurred on June 4th, 1838, in Beachville, Ontario? The oldest baseball park in the world isn’t found in America, but rather at Labbat Park, Ontario, Canada.

Toronto Blue Jays were founded back in 197subcontineEbgthe only Major League Baseball team of Canada. America has been known to collect most of the trophies related to baseball. However, The Blue Jays won the World Series game in 1992 & 1993, becoming the first-ever Non-American team to do so.

You might be interested to know that there are many fans of the sport in Canada, however, not many Canadians prefer to play this game. That might be because this game is not enjoyed in schools or universities of the country.


Women's Cricket in Canada
by Cricket Canada

Cricket is the national game of England as well as a popular game played by South Asian countries, such as the Indian subcontinent. However, this game has recently started to gain rapid popularity in Canada. It might be because of the large number of Indian immigrants in the country, or the recent popularity of the game itself. Cricket is generally enjoyed in Australia, India, and South Africa. However, the Canadian populace has also started showing interest in this game.

If you think that only the recent rise and pain of the game itself might be the thing that’s Canada to the sport you would be wrong The game finds its origin back in Europe. Canada was colonized by Europeans. The recent interest isn’t the only time Canada interacted with the sport.

The British army used to play cricket back in the day. Its interaction with the country can be traced back to the 1700s. The first civilian cricket match occurred in 1785 in Montreal. The twenty20 league was hosted in Toronto in 2018. This became the tipping point for a resurgence in the popularity of this sport in the nation.

Despite the recent interest, however, cricket in Canada is at its infant stage. While it gains popularity day by day, there is time still for the sport to become beloved amongst Canadians. F


Golf Sports in Canada
by Candian Sports Institute Ontario

Golf is an old sport that is known to how originated back in the 15th century. The first game of golf was observed in Scotland. When the Scottish people immigrated to Canada they also brought their sports. Eventually, it became one of the most popular games in the country which makes people invest in getting the best lightweight golf bag in order to store all the needed stuff during play. Montreal golf club was the first-ever club to be launched in the country. It was established in 1873.

Golf is considered one of the most popular sports in Canada. The organization that manages the sport in the country is known as Golf Canada and it boasts 1600 member clubs and more than 300,000 numbers. Golf Canada manages PGA and LPGA Tour events across the country and various golfing events are held at the golf courses in Canada.


Curling Canada
by CTV News

If you have been through the ice hockey section, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that another sport related to ice is enjoyed popularly among Canadians.

Now let’s get to know a bit about curling.

It’s a sport played on a sheet of ice, stones are slid towards targets, the targets are segments of four concentric circles. Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Heart are two important curling competitions for men and women respectively. The champion teams from the national championship go on to compete in international competitions. Canadian teams are known to have shown their dominance in this game against international competitions, even against Scotland, where the game itself originated.

The first curling club is known to have been inaugurated back in 1807 in Canada. It is famous for being one of the most-watched/televised women’s sports in Canada.

Hall of fame of Sports in Canada

Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame

Established in 1943, located at 30 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1X8

Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame

Established in 1965, Located at 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Established in 1983, located at St. Mayer’s, Ontario, Canada

Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

Established in 1973, it is located in Orleans, Ontario, Canada.

Popular sports competitions in Canada

The Stanley Cup- Ice Hockey

The Tim Hortons Brier- Curling

NBA Playoffs and Finals- Basketball

Ski Jumping Nordic Combined National Championships

Grand Prix Cyclist de Québec et de Montréal

Top complexes of sports in Canada

Rogers Centre

3200-1, Blue Jay Way, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1J1 Canada, take a 10-minute walk from St. Andrew.

Whistler Sliding Centre

4910 Glacier Lane, Whistler, British Columbia VON 1B4 Canada

Whistler Mountain Bike Park

4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, British Columbia, V8E OX9 Canada

Win sports

88 Canada Olympic Rd SW, Calgary, Alberta T3 5R5 Canada

Even as we come to a closing talking about the most popular sports in Canada cultural anthropology, there are still many things left to be told. If you find yourself traveling to Canada then these are some of the most significant fun facts about Canada that might help you break that ice between yourself and a local.

Go on now my friends, have fun, Happy Travels!

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