Is Hockey a Canadian or American Sport?

This comprehensive guide explores whether hockey is a Canadian or American sport. Learn about its roots in Canada and how it has evolved over time.

Is Hockey a Canadian or American Sport?

The modern sport of ice hockey has its roots in Canada, particularly in Montreal, where the first indoor game was played on March 3, 1875. This game has been preserved to this day, with features such as the length of the ice rink and the use of a disc still being used. Canada's national championships are represented by two main trophies: the Memorial Cup for the best men's youth team and the Allan Cup for the best men's senior team. There are also national championships in several other divisions. Hockey Canada is the official governing body of sport in Canada and is a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

A Canadian men's national team, comprised of professionals, competes in the annual IIHF Men's World Championship and the Olympic Games. Russia and the United States are considered to be Canada's main rivals. Professionalism began in the 1890s, when players were paid below the table in several sports, including ice hockey and lacrosse. During the 1920s, the Winnipeg senior hockey league for the 1919-20 season, the Winnipeg Falcons, with the Icelandic Canadians, became Canadian national champions and won the 1920 Olympic gold medal in Antwerp for Canada in hockey.

Canada created its own version of soccer before the enactment of the British North American Act, which evolved in parallel with the American version of the game. The disorganized version of the sport, including that old staple, road hockey, is nearly extinct. In 1920, a team from Canada won the first world hockey championship, held at the Winter Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. The Hockey Hall of Fame, located in Toronto, Ontario, is home to many ice hockey trophies, including the Stanley Cup.

In 1924, the Boston Bruins became the first American NHL team. This team has expanded several times over the years. Despite this expansion and other changes to sports culture such as more games being available instantly through one device or another and other Canadian athletes playing local favorites roles, hockey remains a popular sport in both Canada and America. This publication is part of The Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country.

Newspapers have described hockey as a combination of brutal butchery and an exhausting spectacle due to public perceptions and different ways of experiencing it.