To understand Canada’s sporting culture you have to go back to the country’s origins. When they landed in present-day Quebec, the first explorers discovered the games in which the First Nations played. One of the most popular is the “maker’s game” called baggataway (Algonquin), tevarathon (Mohawk) or kabocha-toli (choctaw). Europeans named it “lacrosse” and in 1994 it was officially declared a national summer sport, just like ice hockey for the winter. Over time and various arrivals of immigrants, the French brought wrestling, English, cricket, Scots, golf and curling… but it was not until the late nineteenth century to see actual sporting disciplines organized across the country.
Ice hockey shook the nation
Ice hockey, which became popular in the late 19th century, is associated with the identity of the country. The first official indoor match took place in Montreal on March 3, 1875. Today, from September to June, NHL (North American National Hockey League) meetings anger Canadians and monopolize sports information. The season ends with the famous Stanley Cup playoffs awarding the best team of the year. The Montreal Canadiens team is the most successful in NHL history (24 wins), but its last cup is in 1993. It is more surprising to learn that the inventor of basketball is a Canadian, James Naismith, a professor of medicine in Massachusetts. He conceived the exercise in 1891 to maintain the physical condition of young athletes during the winter. The dynamics of the season have always greatly influenced Canadian sports. In a northern universe that has many snowy months, the Land of Maple shines more at the Winter Olympic Games than in the summer.
If lacrosse remained a traditional sport for First Nations communities, it was replaced in the summer by baseball, which still attracts many players and television favors, even though it is sometimes considered a discipline. Old age Canadian football, closer to its American neighbour, retains all the letters of its nobility. Every year, the broadcast of the American Super Bowl is a must. But it is the sport that responds to its introduction under the name of “association football” (now football) that is growing the fastest today. If the oldest consider it monotonous, with few goals and less action than hockey, it is on the rise, especially among the most recent immigrants to Africa or South America. The interest was greeted by FIFA, which blamed the United States, Mexico and Canada for organizing the 2026 World Cup.
limited offer. 2 months for 1 € without commitment
Canadians’ 3 Favorite Sports
Hockey An official winter sport according to the National Sports Act of Canada, it is part of Canada’s identity and remains most popular in the media and public opinion. www.hockeycanada.ca
take soccer With approximately one million licensees, football comes first, ahead of hockey by 400,000 followers. canadasoccer.com
To follow the analysis and decryption wherever you are
Basketball Basketball culture is moving away from the field and practitioners are on the rise. A craze was fueled in 2019 by the Toronto Raptors being the NBA champions, the only Canadian team in the North American league and the first team outside the United States to win the trophy. www.basketball.ca
Amateur web specialist. General food junkie. Typical zombie enthusiast. Avid music trailblazer. Lifelong explorer.