Advice for Visitors to Canada
Hockey: Canada's National Winter Pastime
Throughout the country, on homemade backyard rinks and frozen ponds, and in community centres and professional arenas, the young and old can be seen playing the game of hockey. Canada's long-standing love affair with the sport reveals its importance as not only a cultural recreational activity, but an identifiable national trademark as well. Hockey's popularity and influence has even impacted on the mainstream consumer market. Take for instance, a leading coffee and donut chain spearheaded by an early ice hero: Tim Horton.
A Game for Anyone
Because goaltenders are responsible for blocking goals with their body, they require more than just the customary hockey accessories to shield themselves against injury. Their armor usually includes:
Playing in the Big League
"Hockey Night in Canada" is not just the airing of a game but a significant event across the country. Each year during the traditional NHL (National Hockey League) season, legions of obsessed fans flock to their televisions or the nearest sports bar to watch the puck drop on their favorite players. They will root for their leading team and watch excitedly as the drama unfolds. Emotions build as the action on the ice intensifies when teams vie for the coveted Stanley Cup during the end-of-season playoffs. Consequently, professional hockey in Canada has become as much about the fans as the sport itself.
Besides following the national league, the country takes pride in its international hockey team. For years, Team Canada has remained a force to be reckoned with on the global ice rink, having won the Summit Series in 1972, four of the five Canada Cup competitions held between 1976 and 1991, an unmatched eight Winter Olympic gold medals, four consecutive IIHF World Championship titles and the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.