Ever since the 80s, Canada has seen a huge spike in the popularity of sports. New arenas were constructed, teams created and were attracted. Attendance for all major sports in Canada has been going up steadily over the past couple of decades. The years between 1980 and 2005 are called “The Honeymoon” of Canadian sports. The fact that the country shares a border with the USA also helps greatly.
- Ice hockey is the most popular and most successful sport played all year-round in Canada. Officially, it is the national sport of the country and is played by 1.4 million Canadians. The old-fashioned version of hockey used to be played in military garrisons and had been very popular among the soldiers. In its modern form, hockey receives recognition after establishing the Stanley Cup (the shared trophy between USA and Canada in the NHL). The Canadian traditions in this sport are unquestioned as history goes back about 100 years. Canada won the gold medals at the Olympics in Salt Lake City and in Vancouver. The iconic name in hockey ‘s history of Canada is Maurice ‘’Rocket” Richard, who is the first player in NHL to score 50 goals in one season.
- Baseball comes after hockey and the first professional baseball game happened during the 1880s in Canada. The major baseball team currently playing in Canada is the Toronto Blue Jays. South-West Oxford (province of Ontario) is the first place where baseball was played in 1838. Ontario nowadays is the home of a semi-professional league, known as Intercounty baseball on the amateur level.
Currently, Ferguson Jenkins is the only Canadian in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The National Baseball team participated in 17 World Cups snatching the bronze in 2009 and gold medals at the Pan American games in 2011 and 2015.
- Interestingly enough, a Canadian team – The Toronto Raptors won the 2018/2019 NBA Championship. This was the first time a Canadian team won the NBA title. However, it is arguable how popular the game of basketball is in Canada. About 20 years ago, when Vince Carter started playing for the Raptors, the popularity of the game started growing. Then, players such as Chris Bosh and Demar DeRozan contributed to making the Raptors a good team. The acquisition of Kawhi Leonard last year proved to be the main factor why Toronto won the NBA title.
- Football (soccer) has been a fast-growing sport in Canada over the past decades and attracts plenty of fans. The National Women’s soccer team is a two- time bronze medalist from the Olympics in London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Christine Sinclair has been nominated for FIFA’s Women’s World player seven times in the period 2004-2014 and currently is the captain of the Canadian National team.
- Softball is a sport very similar to baseball, but many argue that it is somewhat more dynamic. While it is true that it is mostly played by boys and women, there are some good Canadian professional men’s teams as well. While it is clear as day that softball will not become Canada’s most popular sport, it is still a very entertaining sport.