There are a wide variety of sports that are played in Canada. With the realities of its harsh winter climate Canada’s sporting interests are split between the winter sports and summer sports.The national sport of Canada is hockey or as European nations would call it, ice hockey. Canada has a reputation of producing both the best club and international teams in the world. Canada’s top 7 club sides play in the National Hockey League alongside 24 other teams from the States.

Another goal celebrated by the Montreal Canadiens

Another goal celebrated by the Montreal Canadiens

Each year the side competes for the Stanley Cup which originated in Canada. Out of the 101 seasons the cup has been won by a Canadian side on 43 occasions, with the Montreal Canadiens being the most successful team in NHL history with 24 wins. The Montreal Canadiens were part of the original make-up of the National Hockey League and are the oldest professional hockey team in the world. They play their home matches at the Bell Centre which has a capacity of 22,000 spectators making it the largest stadium in the league.

The participation rates of people playing hockey is extremely high and the junior games that are held in the country are followed with great interest. The big night in the winter is Saturday night when National Television covers one of the Canadian team’s games. The summer sport in the country is lacrosse which was first played by the First Nations population 500 years ago. Lacrosse is played both indoors and outdoors with semi-professional leagues in both versions of the game.

The National Lacrosse League is for the indoor version of the game which is known as box lacrosse. The league consists on nine teams of which four reside in Canada. Major League Lacrosse is for the outdoor version of the game and consists of eight teams with one franchise hailing from Canada. Canadian Football is a similar version of American grid iron football but slightly different. The top domestic league is the Canadian Football League in which 9 Canadian teams compete in. The sides all compete for the Grey Cup and the final is each year watched by one third of all Canadian households.

The Toronto Blue Jays in action

The Toronto Blue Jays in action

Canada has one side in the Major League Baseball competition. The Toronto Blue Jays play in the American League, East division and are the only team outside of the United States to have won the World Series. They did this in both 1992 and 1993 have only been formed in 1977, and no side has ever won a World Series so quickly after being formed. The Toronto Raptors are Canada’s sole representatives in the National Basketball Association. They were established in 1995 when they entered the Eastern Conference Division and they play their home games at the Air Canada Centre. Their best season to date was in 2015-2016 when they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to the eventual NBA champions the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Association football has long been popular in to the French speaking and English speaking parts of Canada. Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact all compete in the Major Soccer League. FC Edmonton play in the second level the North American Soccer League and Ottawa FC play in the United Soccer League which is the third tier. All five sides compete in the Amway Canadian Championship and from 2018 they will be joined by the champions of league1 Ontario and Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec. Many of Canada’s top footballer play their soccer overseas in other leagues and in the recent match against El Salvador 11 out of the 23 man squad plied their trade overseas. Women’s soccer is just as popular as men’s and the side are far more successful on the world stage. In 2003 they finished 3rd at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and in the last two Olympic Games they have on both occasions won bronze medals. Canadians also excel in sports such as athletics, swimming rugby union, rugby league, curling, golf and more activities. The outward bounds nature of the typical Canadian means that the society likes to participate in a wide range of sporting activities.