Editorial

Does Canada Have the Most Passionate Hockey Fans?

In 2019, Slovakia played host to the World Ice Hockey Championships. According to official figures, the tournament was watched around the world, with 1.6 billion people tuning in. This was the fourth year in a row where viewership exceeded one billion.

While we don’t yet have any numbers for the 2021 tournament, we imagine its viewership will have been equally high. That’s because hockey has many passionate fans scattered across the globe, all of them eager to watch the latest action. 2021’s victor was, of course, Canada, who took home their 27th title. As one of the most successful teams in the world, it’s little wonder they have an ardent following in their home country, with many claiming Canadian fans are the most passionate of all.

We take a look at whether there’s any truth behind this claim – and what it is that makes Canadians feel so strongly about the sport.

A national sport

Source: Pixabay

When we think of Canada, certain things spring to mind: cold weather, maple syrup, beautiful manners, and – most pertinently – hockey. The game is one of two national sports, which are recognised by a special act.

As a result, hockey is widely promoted within the country, with its related economic activity worth over $11 billion annually. Encouraged within schools and via local amateur teams, it’s well funded, pushed on TV, and has much greater coverage than in the majority of countries. All of this breeds a real passion for the sport among fans, which is fostered from a young age. As football is to Britain and cricket is to India, so hockey is to Canada.

Ideal weather conditions

Source: Pixabay

Few countries have cold enough winters to support skating on frozen lakes. While Canada isn’t the only nation that qualifies in this regard, it’s certainly one of the chilliest, making it the perfect place for an impromptu game of hockey. Certainly, there are many sports and games that it’s simply too cold to play, and lots of those that can be enjoyed outdoors in winter mean strapping on a pair of skates. This means most Canadians are reasonably proficient on the ice and at hockey. This love of playing frequently translates to a love of spectating too.

Widespread media coverage

A national sport tends to be widely reported in a nation’s newspapers and television broadcasts. This is the case with hockey in Canada, with lots of coverage to keep people up to date with what’s happening and stimulate their interest. This goes hand-in-hand with sports betting, as the news updates and tips allow fans to make informed bets.

Wagering on hockey is, therefore, incredibly popular and sportsbooks are numerous as a result. Major brands like LeoVegas, Mr Green, and Betway all have a presence in Canada’s sports betting industry, and here’s a list if you want to know more. But it’s not only mainstream media where hockey features heavily; there are also lots of games that star popular players or incorporate the sport in some way. These titles include the NHL series, Hockey Universe franchise, and Blades of Steel. All of these promote public interest in the sport and mean fans can participate even out of season.

A successful team

Last but not least, most of us enjoy the things we’re good at. In Canada’s case, this is a country that reigns supreme on the hockey scene, so it’s little wonder its fans are such ardent supporters of their national team. With the country having claimed an incredible 27 titles to date, we’re not surprised Canadian fans cheer their players on so passionately and treat them like the returning heroes they are. If we were Canadians, we’d be very proud of them too.

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