The popularity of hockey in Canada cannot be over-emphasized. The sport is the nation’s official sport. Since 1994, Canada has officially recognized ice hockey as its major winter sport. The popularity of the game is not just in the books; millions of kids harbor the dream of becoming professional hockey players, as hockey leagues draw huge sponsorship and viewership both on TV and in the venues is always bursting at the seams.
Why is Ice Hockey So Popular in Canada?
There is a long list of reasons why Canadians love hockey. Some are natural while others are by nurture.
- Extreme Weather
The Canadian winter is unlike any other all over the world. Temperatures reach unbelievable lows and ice and snow come in plenty. Canadians have adapted to this by finding a way to stay active even in these conditions. Ice Hockey has been a good solution to that end.
Ice hockey has been part and parcel of the Canadian culture for close to 200 years now. This means that pretty much every Canadian is born to play and watch it. It is not just a way of life; it is the way of life.
Ice Hockey Competition in Canada
As a way of life, it is only logical that there are numerous competitions within the sport. There is the National Hockey League that is the major competition for teams across the country. The competitions are organised and run by national body Hockey Canada. The nation also works in tandem with other countries and has national teams for both genders.
Ice hockey competitions begin early in life, with serious competitions in teams as young as eleven years of age. Players go through the ranks until they are well set to play in the senior teams.
Major Ice Hockey Teams
A whopping 60 teams play in the senior most level of Canadian leagues every season. Numerous other teams play on the lower leagues with the aim of earning promotion to the elite competition. The Toronto Maple Leafs, The Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadians are just but a few of the teams that light up the top division of Canadian hockey.
Each of these teams has an arena where they play their home games. They also have a dedicated set of fans who often fill out the arenas that have capacities of over twenty-thousand people.
Watching Ice Hockey
Going to the arena is the best way to experience the ice hockey atmosphere. This will require you to grab tickets in advance. In many cases, however, it is not easy to get tickets for single matches as season-ticket holders come in their numbers. In that event, you can host a watch party with friends at home or go to one of the numerous sports bars.