I had been watching ice hockey games occasionally on television a few times in my life, but in Europe this sport is not much followed, so I was looking forward to experience a live game here in Canada.
I know that this sport is very fast paced and entertaining, also thanks to the mascots and the choreographies during the games and I know that it’s Canada’s number one sport.
Entertainment at the games
For the time being, I need to wait for next season to attend a game personally, but I asked a co-worker about Canadians’ passion for hockey and he was nice to share his experience with me, as well as a few photos he took at the games.
Ice hockey in Ottawa
Ottawa and its inhabitants live and practice many different sports and the capital city hosts top-level ice hockey, basketball, baseball and Canadian football teams.
However, basketball, baseball and football are not the most popular sports in Canada. Without any doubt, the national sport is ice hockey.
Ice hockey originated in Canada and it is also the national sport, in fact Canada is among the countries that dominate the international competitions of this sport, having won 24 world championships and 8 Winter Olympic Games.
Every time the country disputes a World Cup or takes part in the Winter Olympic Games the entire country watches the games on television or some even travel across the world to support their team. The main league of ice hockey in the world, the National Hockey League, is very popular with Canadians. It was founded in Montreal in 1917, and then expanded in the United States too. It currently consists of 30 teams, of which seven are Canadian, like almost half of its players.
In Toronto I would like to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, in the building previously owned by the Bank of Montreal, there are many objects and documents related to the history of hockey.
I was surprised to find out that ice hockey has only ‘recently’ (since 1994) become the first sport.
Canada has officially two national sports, recognized by its Parliament: lacrosse as summer sport and ice hockey as winter sport. Before the 90s, the only truly official sport had always been lacrosse, because it was the sport played by the natives. Only in 1994 ice hockey was declared by the House of Commons an official Canadian sport and, as a result, was made the distinction between official summer sport and official winter sport to satisfy all supporters. Ice hockey is practiced at all levels by children, men and women.
My co-worker told me that going back to the origins of this sport is not easy. It was probably ‘imported’ by Europeans and created as a new version of the curling.
There are testimonies of games already played around 1850 when some British soldiers played it in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but the first official indoor competition was held at the Victoria Skating Rink in 1875 and that is now considered the official date of birth of the modern ice hockey.
Ottawa’s ice hockey team is the Senators.
Founded in 1883, the Ottawa Senators are a professional ice hockey team member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League also known as NHL. The Senators play their home games at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, which was first opened in 1996.
Ottawa’s Senators is the official ice hockey team