Hockey is Canada’s National Winter Sport and is a huge part of our Canadian culture and heritage. We see hockey games every week on TV, we see the magnificent Rogers Arena whenever we’re in Vancouver and we see Canucks ads everywhere we go telling us that “We Are All Canucks”. We, as Canadians, identify with hockey and take a huge amount of pride in it. One of the reasons may be because hockey incorporates values that all Canadians respect—like discipline, teamwork, resourcefulness, strength, humility, triumph and endurance. But with many other sports like lacrosse, curling, soccer, baseball and football exhibiting the same values—why do Canadians love hockey the most?
We Invented It
Hockey was first invented in Canada in the 19th century in Montreal. Over the years, we Canadians have practiced it, perfected it and taken pride in it. It’s one of our two national sports (lacrosse is the official national summer sport) and we love to see Canada represented through hockey on the world stage. In 2002, over 6 million Canadians tuned in to see the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team win the Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics. Over 10 million tuned in to see the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team do the same thing 3 days later.
We’re Good At It
Hockey is our game and we’re good at it. We’re deeply passionate about the game of hockey—with quick pucks and agile players, we love the way it works! Many young Canadians start playing hockey as soon as they can put on skates and join local teams to improve their skills and have fun with their fellow Canadians. Canadians idolize our national teams for their skill and dexterity during the Winter Olympics and a large percentage of players in the NHL are Canadian too. In 1917, over 90% of all the players in the NHL were Canadian. In 2013, over 50% of all the players in the NHL were Canadian—even the ones on other teams.
Everyone Knows Hockey
Hockey is all around us! Even though you’ve never played hockey before, chances are you know enough about hockey to have some sort of a conversation about it. Canadians of all ages are exposed to hockey from a young age, either through hockey games on TV, seeing a hockey game at a local arena, or seeing hockey highlights on the morning news. You can’t escape hockey when you live in Canada—it’s so embedded in our culture that it’s everywhere!
We Have the Perfect Weather
With our long winter months in Canada, we have the perfect weather for hockey! We don’t always need special rinks to play hockey, if the weathers cold enough we can play it on a pond with some sticks and pucks. Grouse Mountain and Robson Square also house outdoor skating rinks during the winter months for Canadians to skate and play hockey outside.
It Brings Us Together
Hockey is a great way to bring family and friends together. Whether you’re watching Hockey Night in Canada at home with your family, watching the game at your friend’s house or at a local pub, everyone can enjoy the sport of hockey together. You can cheer together when your local team scores and boo together when your favourite player gets an unfair penalty. Hockey is a great way to get together and participate in something that we all share and relate to as Canadians.
We Love the Teams and Players
Players and teams have different strengths, personalities, skills and abilities—and we Canadians love identifying with our favourite team or watching our favourite player on the ice. We love boasting about our favourite team and arguing with others about what makes that team so special. We take so much pride in our local teams that we even wear jerseys, sometimes of specific players, to show our hockey loyalty to the people around us.
It’s Fun to Watch
Whether it’s watching it at a stadium or at home, hockey is a fast and physical sport that is really entertaining to watch. Canadians love watching the game, shouting their advice to the players and holding their breath when a playing is attempting to make a goal. We love watching fights and getting mad at referees for unfair calls. It’s a fun sport that can bring people together and enjoy in something that makes us proud to be Canadian!