Canadian Sports
Photo: Sports Champic

Canada has a plethora of popular sports, which Canadians love to watch, play, and even bet on. Immigrants who move to Canada have also learned how to embrace the country’s sports culture. Most of the popular sports around the world are also available across different regions in Canada.

Although sports have a great impact on Canadians in general, it is the natives who are really into these activities. Most participate actively through local teams as a way to connect with the major leagues and keep fit.

The most popular sports in Canada include ice hockey, soccer, baseball, cricket, golf, rugby, tennis, basketball, lacrosse, and curling.

1. Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is probably the most popular Canadian sport since being named the official national sport. Canada’s ice hockey major league is the National Hockey League (NHL) which operates in both Canada and the United States of America.

Canada has a total of 7 teams in the NHL namely Calgary, Toronto, Calgary Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Montreal. Besides playing in the National Hockey League, Canada is also known to arrange strongly competitive semi-professional and amateur ice hockey tournaments.

This number one Canadian sport is governed by Hockey Canada.

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2. Soccer

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world and Canadian have equally developed a liking for the sport. However, Canadian soccer is played under slightly different rules, but the main concept remains intact.

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The first Canadian soccer match took place between two local clubs in October 1876 in Toronto. Ever since, the sport has gained great prominence across the country. The Canadian Women’s Soccer team has triumphed a couple of times in international competitions. In 2012, the team qualified for the London Summer Olympics and performed exceptionally well.

Canada was also honored to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which run for about a month.

3. Lacrosse

This sport was declared a national sport in Canada in the year 1859, and later a summer sport in 1994. Millions of Canadians have actively participated in lacrosse competitions across the country. The sport is governed and regulated by the Canadian Lacrosse Association, which was established in 1925.

Essentially, there are two lacrosse professional leagues in Canada, the Major League Lacrosse for the field lacrosse league, and the National Lacrosse League for the box lacrosse leagues. Canada broke USA’s 28-year winning streak record in the sport in 2006 after winning 15-10 against the US in the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship.

4. Baseball

Being among the oldest sports in the country, baseball has a great history in Canada. Canadians love to play, watch, and place wagers on baseball matches. The oldest baseball park in the world is located in Labatt Park in Toronto, and it’s still operational to date.

There is only one major league baseball team in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays. However, there are numerous independent league teams across the country that participate in the Can-Am League and the American Association. In Canada, baseball is regulated by Baseball Canada stationed in Ottawa.

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5. Cricket

Even though Canada is yet to be sanctioned to take part in test matches, the national teams are permitted to take part in One Day International Matches. Canada has a highly competitive women’s cricket team and the U-19 that has participated in three U-19 World Cups.

Cricket in Canada is regulated by Cricket Canada, which was established in 1892. The body is tasked with organizing domestic inter-provincial competitions. It has also introduced the National T20 and Scotia Shield U-19 domestic competitions.

6. Tennis

Tennis is also one of the popular sports among Canadians. The tennis regulatory body is known as Tennis Canada, tasked with maintaining its commitment to developing the sport in Canada by encouraging participation at local, national, and international levels.

Statistics show that the number of Canadians that actively participate in the sport has been growing over the years. The number of those that play tennis more than four times a year increased from 1.2 million in 1998 to 1.7 million in 2001. Among them, 50% were under the age of 25. Cricket ranks 6th in the list of the most popular sports in Canada.

7. Rugby

Rugby was introduced in Canada in 1823 by the Royal Navy, which also proceeded to foster the sport’s development in different regions of the country. However, rugby would later disappear completely from Canada, only to be re-introduced through the formation of a national team and several armature domestic competitions.

The Canadian rugby league has hosted several professional and domestic competitions. The rugby union features a total of four regional teams in the competitions. As of today, the rugby union has attracted well over 13,000 professional players and an equal number of junior players across Canada.

8. Basketball

The roots of this popular sport can easily be traced back to Canada. The modern-day basketball, as we know it, was designed by James Naismith, a Canadian in 1892 when working as a physical education instructor in the United States. Some of the players who took part in the sport at its infancy were Canadian.

In Canada, the sport is more popular in high schools and colleges. Professional basketball tournaments in Canada began in 1946, but only gained popularity in 1994 after the NBA franchised the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors.

As of this writing, there are 30 teams that take part in the Canadian national basketball competition.

9. Curling

Though not as popular as other sports, curling is still a game of interest among Canadian sports enthusiasts. It is more prevalent in the Prairie provinces, with most national teams based in Manitoba and Alberta.

Canadian curling was introduced into the country from Scotland, and it is often associated with the military. The national men’s curling championship is called Tim Hortons Brier, while the women’s equivalent is known as Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Women are more active in curling compared to other sports, making it the most televised women’s sport in the country. Since 1995, the World Curling Championship has been sponsored by Ford Canada. As a matter of fact, it was initially known as the Ford World Curling Championship.

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Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports and Surprise Movies.


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