Most Popular Sports in Canada: What Makes Canadians Cheery?

There isn’t a country that does not have a passion for sports. We know that sports fans worldwide are going crazy about football and basketball, but what about Canada? 

Canada has the world’s biggest ice hockey fan base —  it’s their national pride, after all. But what else do Canadians love? 

Keep on reading to find out what are the most popular sports in Canada

Let’s dive in!

What Are the Most Popular Sports in Canada?

Sports are fun to watch and create a sense of belonging and closeness with like-minded people. No wonder sports have such a strong influence and are celebrated across the globe. 

Canadians are known for being an ice hockey nation, but let’s check what are some other popular sports in Canada

1. Ice Hockey

Undoubtedly, ice hockey is the most popular sport in Canada and has been since 187. Out of the total NHL players, 42.7% are Canadian. That itself speaks volumes about the popularity of the game in Canada. 

Ice hockey is played with hockey sticks on an ice field, and players are supposed to hit the puck across the field all the way to the goal of the opposite team. Each time a team scores a goal, they earn one point.  

There are 607,591 registered ice hockey players in Canada, and the Canadian teams hold the highest reputation in the game worldwide. The official governing body is Hockey Canada. Their responsibility includes managing the programs across the whole territory of Canada. 

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux

You might be interested: Most Valuable Hockey Cards 

2. Lacrosse

The next most popular sport in Canada is lacrosse. 

Did you know that lacrosse is the oldest sport in Canada? It appeared before ice hockey, way back in the 17th century. Since 1994, lacrosse is holding the title of Canada’s summer national sport. The national teams are among the best world countries’ teams

The game is played with sticks (also called “crosse”) and a ball. An elongated net is tied on the stick towards the tips, which holds the ball when players pass it between each other. The player that gets closest to the opposing team’s goal shoots the ball with the stick and scores. Lacrosse is played out on grass or turf field. 

The National Lacrosse League and the Major League Lacrosse are two professional leagues in Canada, with around 100,000 players actively participating in the sport. The official governing body is the “National Lacrosse Association of Canada”

Most famous Canadian players in the sport: Albert Gordon, Dr. George Beers, Shawn Evans

3. Basketball

Although basketball is not Canada’s most popular sport, it’s sufficient to say that basketball it’s still largely played, especially in high schools and college. 

Moreover, Canada has only one NBA team – the Toronto Raptors. An interesting fact about basketball is that the original inventor of the sport was a Canadian. 

The objective of the game is to toss the ball through the basket net of the opposing team. The competition is between two teams, each made up of 5 players. The team that scores the most goals is the winner. The governing body of the sport is Basketball Canada.

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Andrew Wiggins, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray

4. Baseball

When baseball lovers hear the name Jenkins or Walker, they immediately think of some of the best Canadian baseball players. Baseball has been around long enough to mark its place as one of the most popular summer sports in Canada

The game consists of two teams made up of nine players competing against each other using a baseball bat and a small-sized ball. The pitcher stands in the middle of the field and throws the ball to the batter. 

The catcher squats behind the batter at the home plate and tries to catch the ball in case the batter misses. The winning team is the team whose batter scores the most runs while touching all four bases. Baseball Canada is the official governing body based in Canada’s capital city Ottawa. 

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Larry Walker, Ferguson Jenkins

5. Cricket

Did you know that Canada and the US were the first two countries ever to play cricket? Since then, cricket has quickly gained popularity in all the provinces, particularly in Montreal and Toronto. Canada is also one of the associate countries of the International Cricket Council and participates in One Day International Matches. 

Two teams of 11 players compete against each other on a 22-yard field. The bowler attempts to throw the ball toward the wicket, while the fielder tries to catch the ball if the bowler misses. The objective is that one of the opponents scores the most runs. 

There are 40,000 active players in Canada who regularly participate and compete in cricket. This popular sport is governed by the Cricket Canada association.   

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Nitish Kumar, Ashish Bagai, Rizwan Cheema

6. Soccer 

The first soccer match in Canada was held in Toronto in 1876; since then, soccer has been on the rise. Each year, more and more Canadians join the most popular sport in the world. Back in 2012, Canada took part in the London Olympics, where the Canadian women’s soccer team reached the semi-final of the women’s soccer tournament. 

Soccer is played between two teams, each made up of 11 players. The main objective is to score a goal into the opponent’s goal net by passing the ball between the players of the same team. The team that scores the most goals is the winner. 

As one of the most popular sports in Canada, Canadian soccer counts over 1,000,000 active players. Canada Soccer is the governing body that oversees everything and ensures the game is aligned with the rules. 

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Alphonso Boyle Davies, Jonathan David, Craig Forrest

7. Curling

Curling is a central part of the sports scene in Canada. It is a beloved winter sport anyone can play, regardless of the level of experience. Canada is known for its national championships in curling, where both men and women players have equal competing opportunities. 

Traditionally, the teams are made up of four players, while the mixed doubles teams consist of a male and a female player. The players slide a granite stone across the ice field towards the target – the House Center. The objective of the game is to score points by bringing the stones as closest as possible to the target. 

According to Curling Canada, which is also the governing body of the sport, there are 15,000 registered curling players

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard

8. Canadian Football

Canadian Football is slightly different than its American counterpart, mostly differing in the number of players, field size and the number of touchdowns. However, Both Canadian and American football share their roots with Rugby. 

The sport is mostly played in high school, college and university football teams. Although not as dominant as other sports, it is still among the most popular sports in Canada

The game is played with two teams of 12 players, and they must pass the goal zone all the way up to the end zone to get points. 

Only 9 teams are members of the Canadian Football League — the only professional league actually. The governing body of the sport is the Rugby Football Union. 

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Dane Evans, David Ungerer, Mike Pringle

9. Golf

Canadians are among the biggest golfing nations in the world. Golf is one of the best summer sports in Canada, offering an impressive number of 2,700 golfing facilities. The first ever golf club in Canada is the Montreal Golf Club which was founded in 1873. 

There is no standardized terrain for golf. Instead, golfers adjust depending on the golf course. Golf is an individual sport where the golfer tries to hit the ball with various clubs and center it into one of the 18 holes. 

There are around 310,000 registered golfers in Canada that play professionally. The sport is overseen and managed by Golf Canada

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Mike Weir, George Knudson

10. Tennis

Finally, tennis is also among the most played summer sports in Canada. Although it’s mostly played casually, Canada has some top-tier international tennis stars. 

Tennis is an individual sport but can also be played in couples standing on opposite sides of the net. Opponents are supposed to hit the tennis ball with a racquet and manipulate it so that the other opponent can’t manage to hit the ball back.  

There are around 6 million tennis players in Canada, including both professionals and casual players. Governing body of the sport is Tennis Canada. 

Most famous Canadian players of the sport: Bianca Andreescu, Eugenie Bouchard, Denis Shapovalov

You might be interested in our selection of the 12 Top Canadian Sports Betting Sites in 2022


Canadians are generally known for their thrilling sports events and for staying active all year round. The Big White North prides itself on being the best ice hockey nation. But as you can see, Canada’s love for sports doesn’t stop there. 

Soccer, lacrosse and basketball are just a few of the most popular sports in Canada, but the list goes on. 

If you had a say, what would your pick be? 


What is the most popular sport in Canada?

Ice hockey remains Canada’s most popular sport despite its decline through the pandemic months. However, soccer has the highest participation in Canada, and lacrosse is still favoured among the population. It’s safe to say that soccer and lacrosse are also gaining in popularity, making them one of the most popular sports in Canada.

What is Canada’s national sport?

With its long history of playing and well-established tradition, Ice hockey has been proclaimed Canada’s national sport. Ice hockey is also recognized as Canada’s winter national sport, while lacrosse is officially recognized as Canada’s summer national sport. 


Toni always had an appetite for learning new things and random facts about almost everything, which is why when he got offered the job to work as a content writer he took it without hesitation. Writing daily took his love for words and research to a whole new level, and made him realize that this is a career he would love to pursue. Although he spends most of his time researching his next piece, you can also find him on the football court, in the gym, or at home with a book in his hand.

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