Why is Ice Hockey Canada's National Sport?

Ice hockey was declared Canada's national winter sport in 1994 due to its long history in Canada. Learn more about why ice hockey is Canada's national sport.

Why is Ice Hockey Canada's National Sport?

Ice hockey was declared Canada's national winter sport in 1994, at the same time that lacrosse was declared Canada's national summer sport. This is likely due to the fact that both sports have a long and storied history in Canada. A Canadian men's national team, comprised of professional players, competes in the annual IIHF Men's World Championship and the Olympic Games. Rugby league first appeared in Canada in the 20th century, but by the late 1980s, the sport had completely disappeared from the country.

Individuals and families across the country can be found honing their marksmanship skills at various public and private shooting ranges. Canada has participated in each of the Pan American Games since the second edition of the games, which was held in Mexico City in 1955. The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is the governing body that sanctions professional rodeo events in Canada. The Stanley Cup, considered to be the main trophy in professional ice hockey, originated in Canada in 1893. The National Ringette League (NRL), a semi-professional ring league, was formed in 2004, becoming the first winter sports league in North America to have elite female athletes instead of men. Canada has also produced several world boxing champions, including heavyweights Tommy Burns and Lennox Lewis. Ice hockey can be played indoors and outdoors during colder seasons, but during warmer seasons, its game requires the use of artificial ice, which is normally found on an indoor ice rink.

The Canadian Lacrosse Association's executive director is responsible for directing national youth and senior championships for men and women in both field lacrosse and boxing. Ferguson Jenkins won the National League Cy Young Award in 1971 as the best pitcher in the league, and in 1991 he became the first Canadian to be included in the U. S. Baseball Hall of Fame.

Canada did not win the most medals at the Vancouver Olympic Games (they finished third behind the United States with 37 medals total and Germany with 2), but they did win the most gold medals with 14, more than any other country at the Winter Olympics. In ice hockey, Canada supports men's and women's national teams in both under-20 and under-18 categories. Other popular professional sports in Canada include Canadian football (played in the Canadian Football League), National Lacrosse League lacrosse, and curling. Canada is one of only six countries to have attended all of the Commonwealth Games and hosted the first British Empire Games in 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario. Many of these athletes come from British Columbia, a Canadian stronghold for rugby, as well as Newfoundland and Ontario.