The Canadian People’s Love for Hockey

The women’s 2011 World Cup final where Canada (in red and white jerseys) played the U.S.
Spectators at a Canadian hockey game.
Canada’s national ice sledge hockey team playing Sweden in Paralympics.

Ice hockey, which arguably is Canada’s most popular sport, is a sport played on ice rinks by two opposing teams consisting of five outfield players plus a goalkeeper per side. Each player is equipped with ice skates and a hockey stick, and the purpose of the game is to transport a puck past the opposing team and shoot it into a goal.

A winter tradition

The popularity of hockey among both men and women in Canada is a result of the country’s cold winter climate, which produces a lot of frozen lakes to skate and play on. Before indoor ice rinks existed, quite naturally, it was here that people went to play hockey. In honor of this tradition, on the Canadian five-dollar bill there is an illustration of children playing hockey on a pond. Beside the illustration there is a quote to which many Canucks can relate. It reads “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places — the school, the church and the skating rink — but our real life was on the skating rink.”

The 2010 Olympics Games

The Canadian love for playing hockey has fostered many great players. However, the country’s legendary men’s national team was not able to win an Olympic ice hockey gold for fifty years prior to their first-place finish in 2002. Then, only eight years later, after a dramatic final, it happened again.

In 2010, during the Winter Olympics at home in Vancouver, arch rival Team USA was defeated in overtime. A whopping 80 % of the Canadian population tuned in to watch all or parts of the drama on TV, and the success was complete. Not only had the title of men’s Olympic ice hockey champion been brought back to the Great White North, where Canucks always think it rightly belongs — it had happened in Canada.

Risky entertainment

Passionate hockey fans — like those attending the 2010 Olympic final — typically, are attracted to the combination of graceful skills, tactics and violent force that hockey games involve. Nevertheless, while helping to make the game entertaining, the physical component of the sport makes players prone to get injured. In combination with the high cost of equipment, this risk for injuries has made many Canadian parents of today inclined to encourage their children to play other sports.