Canada’s Official Sports

Everyone knows that hockey really is the sport of choice in Canada. I remember visiting out east back in 2002 – my ex and I went to upstate New York1 to go to one of his friend’s weddings, and then we spent some time visiting family & friends in southwestern Ontario.  Down in NY State, at least half the cars you drove by had American flags on them.  And, while I didn’t see any Canadian flags, at least half the cars you drove by in southwestern Ontario had a Toronto Maple Leafs flag on them. Just like back home in Vancouver, Canucks flags dominated the traffic scene. We may not be able to agree which team to cheer for, but most Canadians2 will agree that hockey rocks.

However, you often hear people say that lacrosse is “Canada’s national sport.”  Like, as if anyone plays lacrosse.  I’ve also heard that it’s just a rumour that lacrosse is “Canada’s national sport,” a rumour made up and spread by the Canadian Lacrosse Association to try to build a name for their sport.  So I decided to look it up once and for all.

As it turns out, both hockey and lacrosse were declared to be “”Canada’s national sports” in the National Sports of Canada Act in 1994.

The game commonly known as ice hockey is hereby recognized and declared to be the national winter sport of Canada and the game commonly known as lacrosse is hereby recognized and declared to be the national summer sport of Canada.

1Have you ever been to upstate New York? Don’t. Seriously, just don’t.
2Except Kalev, but he doesn’t count because he’s not a real Canadian, as all real Canadians love hockey; so, by virtue of his irrational hatred of hockey, he’s not actually Canadian.

Image credits: Photo of hockey skates by notanartist on Flickr. Photo of the lacrosse stick by downing.amanda on Flickr.  Rock on, Creative Commons licences, rock on.

Comments |3|

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  • Of course Canada has two national sports — to go along with the two official languages and the almost-two flags (

    But why do both of those sports have to be stupid stick fighting sports? That’s what I’d like to know. How about some more peaceful sports that don’t require thousands of dollars of equipment (most of which is protective gear) to get started on?

    I thought Vancouver was Canada’s Hawaii. I thought we lived in (almost frost-free) Lotus Land, etc. So why do the locals here STILL hold on so tightly to the sliding-on-frozen-water thing, even if they have to do it indoors?


    Also, is there a Canadian province or a Canadian city or even a neighborhood somewhere in Canada, where the majority are as lacrosse crazy as the majority in the rest of Canada are hokey crazy? It looks like it only takes a couple of million Frenchies to ensure the other official language and the other almost-official flag, so maybe there’s a population center somewhere that’s responsible for the “official sport” status of lacrosse?


  • It’s such a Canadian thing to do – declare that there’s an official summer and winter sport, so as not to upset anyone.

    @Jan – the biggest lacrosse community I can think of is the Six Nations Reserve in Southern Ontario, where they have a couple of very good teams (that I remember… it’s been a while.)


  • Ha… I’m more Canadian than you, Beth: I speak French AND English, you monolinguist!

    Hockey is stupid, against science, and FSM hates it too. So there.


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