Soccer vs. Hockey in Canada

With a long tradition in Canada, common sports include hockey, football, lacrosse, and others The most popular sport, however, is ice hockey, and it is also the country’s official sport, with several teams playing in the NHL, from Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, and Calgary. Soccer is also a popular sport with a long tradition in Canada and has gained popularity, with a number of prestigious competitions taking place (The Jubilee Shield, The Challenge Trophy, and others)

Soccer in Canada

While soccer is not as popular when it comes to professional leagues, it is the most popular sport when you compare participation rates. Professional soccer also underwent a transformation over the years. The men’s league was established in the 1920s and was active until 1997. The ECPSL or the Eastern Professional Soccer League gained popularity in the 60s, with popular British stars playing, including Tommy Younger, Jackie Mudie, Stanley Matthews, and others. The list of distinguished players in the 70s and 80s also includes names such as Gerry Gray, Randy Ragan, and Buzz Parsons. Bruce Wilson actually has been voted one of the century’s best players on the North American continent.

Prominent Players, Teams, and Competitions ZSC Lion

Today, with the more active participation of Canadian teams in different competitions, there has been a number of prominent soccer players such as Julian de Guzman, Craig Forrest, Dwayne De Rosario, Atiba Hutchinson, and many others. Three teams currently play in the Major League Soccer and namely, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Toronto FC. FC Edmonton plays in the North American Soccer League. Competitions are also organized in Canada, both competitions for amateur clubs and pros. Examples include the Vancouver Island Soccer League, The Challenge Trophy, and the Amway Canadian Championship. Some competitions are provincial while others are national.

Hockey in Canada

Professional hockey is more popular than soccer in Canada, which is regarded the birthplace of ice hockey. It is also recognized as an official national winter sport, and the country’s team is among the best national teams to play in international competitions. The world’s leading hockey teams today are known as the Big Six – Canada, the U.S., Sweden, Russia, Finland, and the Czech Republic. The national ice hockey team participates in the IIHF World Championship and has won gold, silver, and bronze medals on numerous occasions over the years. The 2016 roster includes names such as Derick Brassard, Max Domi, Matt Dumba, Brendan Gallagher, Ben Hutton, Chris Tanev, and others.

Hockey Stars Playing Overseas

As you probably know, ice hockey is one of the greatest contributions Canada made to the world of sport. Women, men, and kids play and watch hockey at all levels – provincial, national, etc. When it comes to professional hockey, Canadian players also participate in overseas leagues. Former hockey stars who are playing overseas include names such as Samuel Pahlsson, Wojtek Wolski, Nik Antropov, and others. Some superstars have left the league to join European and U.S. teams, playing for teams such as Modo, Astana Barys, Colorado Avalanche, ZSC Lion, and others. Some players have changed teams every other year or even every season before they return back home.

Other Popular Team and Individual Sports

There are other popular sports in Canada, both in terms of participation rates and professional players and competitions. Names worth a mention include players such as E. Godfrey, S. Jackson, S. Breza, D. Henry, and many others. They play in different leagues in England, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, and elsewhere. Overseas leagues include the First and Second League in Bulgaria, Oberliga and Liga in Germany, Segunda B in Spain, and the National and Premier Leagues in England. Canadian players also play for different teams in Norway, Malta, Luxembourg, Japan, Iceland, Hungary, Hong Kong, and elsewhere around the world.

There are popular summer and winter sports, including Canadian football, rugby, and lacrosse, which is also an official sport in Canada. Individual sports are also popular, among which shooting, motorsport, wrestling, bowling, golf, boxing, and so on. Judo, martial arts, and cycling are also popular.