Ice hockey is undoubtedly the number one sport in Canada, and it is their winter national sport. Lacrosse is Canada’s summer national sport, but in truth, it doesn’t get a look in, it’s ice hockey all the way for Canadians. While in the neighboring USA football and basketball are reigning supreme, in Canada hockey is life. Why is Canada so obsessed with this combative sport?
They’re good at it
One thing is for certain, Canadians are really good at ice hockey. Historically they are one of the top teams in the world, something their record 13 gold medals in the Olympics proves. With so much success on an international level, young Canadians are inspired to pick up the sport to emulate their Olympic heroes. Two of the three highest Stanley Cup winning teams are from Canada, so there’s no shortage of high-quality hockey on display in the country.
The Great One
It helps that the greatest ever player to step onto the ice, Wayne Gretzky, is Canadian. It’s like being Brazilian and having Pele to you to get into soccer, or being Swiss and looking up to tennis icon Roger Federer. With such an idol being praised in the media it’s hard not to be intrigued by the sport. Kids always have a hero to look up to, and an entire generation of hockey fans followed Gretzky when he was tearing it up on the ice.
The Great One is the all-time leading scorer in the NHL, and his 61 other NHL records have inspired his fans to get into the sport. Canadians loved the man and everything he accomplished on the rink, including the Stanley Cup victory in 1988.
Cold is in the culture
In Canada, it’s pretty hard to avoid the winter chill that comes around every year. Kids start playing hockey young and often are given their first pair of skates when they learn to walk as parents encourage their children to take up their national sport. The game is a symbol of Canada and helps to promote many aspects of the culture they’re proud of. To play well in hockey you must work hard, be committed, while having high levels of skill and creativity. It is a representation of the code that most Canadians choose to live by.
Where else on Earth can you zoom around faster than 100-meter runners while smacking a puck faster than your eye can follow? Skating on the ice brings about a freedom that can’t be found on a football field or basketball court. With the cold winters freezing lakes, Canadians have access to ice rinks all over the country, meaning anywhere is a place to play. All you need is your skates, and you’re free!
Canadians love hockey as it allows them to go out on the ice and show the world how good they are. Hockey’s popularity continues to grow in Canada, with more girls than ever picking up sticks and taking to the rinks. Ice hockey always has been, and looks set to remain as, Canada’s favorite sport.