Sports are a big deal in Canada, and while ice hockey is commonly associated with the country, many other sports are loved and played by millions of Canadians. In this article, we’ll look at which sports are most popular in Canada and tell you a little bit of history about their popularity and fame, giving you an insight into why Canada has so warmly embraced these sports.
Are you a big sports fan who likes to place your bets at the ground, or someone who prefers online sports betting instead? Regardless, we’re sure that you will be able to learn a lot from this article.
Getting the most obvious sport out of the way first, ice hockey is super popular in Canada, and is loved by a majority of the population. You can see evidence of this when winter rolls in and the local population turn their nearest frozen lake into a makeshift ice hockey rink. As relationships with sports go, you’ll struggle to find one stronger than Canadians and ice hockey.
Despite ice hockey being the standout Canadian sport, it may come as a surprise to you to learn that no Canadian team has won the NHL title since 1993, showing that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done before Canada can overtake the US at the highest level. That being said, Canada is dwarfed by the US in terms of size and population, and so the fact that they can even compete at all is an achievement.
Ice hockey was influenced by both the stick games previously played back in England, as well as games played by the indigenous people of Canada. The game that we know and love today was actually invented in Montreal, Canada! Are you surprised to learn that Canada actually has ice hockey as its national sport, and that it’s played by almost everyone at varying levels of professionalism?
The world’s game, soccer is a massively popular sport and has become increasingly popular in Canada in recent years thanks to the success of many high-profile players. As we’ve seen in the US, more North Americans have started to embrace the beautiful game, and it’s because of this that we saw both the US and Canada feature in the latest edition of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
As we just touched on, the soccer scene in Canada has benefitted massively thanks to the emergence of several high-profile players who have played at the very highest level. Alphonso Davies is arguably the best player in the Canadian soccer team right now, and is absolutely smashing it for Bayern Munich over in Germany, after first featuring for Toronto FC at a very young age.
Davies is accompanied in the Maple Leafs by FC Basel winger Liam Millar, who many soccer fans may remember from his time playing for recent Premier League champions Liverpool. Another Maple Leaf star, Junior Hoilett, has also made a name for himself in England, living there since the age of 13 after impressing during a youth tournament, and now playing for Reading in the EFL Championship.
Basketball was actually invented by a Canadian man called James Naismith, a teacher and sports enthusiast who moved to the United States to work. Naismith created the sport as a way for his students to be able to remain active and have fun during the colder winter months, when it was common for the outdoor sports spaces to freeze over and become unusable for the students.
Basketball has become an increasingly popular sport to be played at the college level in Canada, attracting more and more scholarship players every year, as we’ve seen become the case in the United States. This has resulted in many young basketball players making a move across the border to play in the NBA and WNBA, largely thanks to their sporting education in Canada, highlighting a sharp improvement in outcomes.
Despite increasing success in terms of players being produced by Canada, there is only one Canadian team playing in the NBA, which is the largest basketball league in the world, located in the United States. The Toronto Raptors are a super popular basketball team, and are followed by many Canadians, though most will also have a keen interest in the domestic league as it continues to grow in popularity.As an Amazon Associate, Icy Canada earns from qualifying purchases.