hockey

How to Watch a Hockey Game in Canada

The National Hockey League

The National Hockey League, commonly known as NHL, is a professional ice hockey league in North America. Founded in 1917, it is considered to be one of the top-ranked professional hockey leagues in the world. It is also one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The other three sports leagues are the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Football League (NFL). Today, these four leagues are known as the “Big Four,” with the leagues each having 30-32 teams. 

In the NHL, there are 32 teams. 25 teams are in the United States, and 7 of them are in Canada. Here are the 7 Canadian teams and some fun facts about them:

Calgary Flames

  • Founded in Atlanta in 1972 and was known as the Atlanta Flames
  • Relocated to Calgary in 1980 and became known as the Calgary Flames
  • They won the 1988-89 Stanley Cup championship

Edmonton Oilers

  • Founded in 1971 by Wild Bill Hunter and Dr. Chuck Allard
  • Over 500 players have played for the Oilers
  • They have won eight conference championships and five Stanley Cups

Montreal Canadiens

  • Founded in 1909 and was the first team in the NHL
  • The team once won six games in a row between 1951 and 1960
  • They have 24 Stanley Cups, making them the most successful ice hockey team in the NHL

Ottawa Senators

  • Founded in 1883 and became a franchise in 1992
  • Won 11 Stanley Cups and was selected as Canada’s greatest team in 1950
  • Known by many nicknames, including the Generals, the Silver Seven and the Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • The franchise started in 1917 and officially joined the NHL in 1918
  • Play at Scotiabank Arena, where NBA team Toronto Raptors play their games as well
  • Won 13 Stanley Cup Championships, making them one of the most successful teams in NHL history

Winnipeg Jets

  • Also founded in Atlanta in 1999
  • Was one of the founding members of the World Hockey Association 
  • Among all of the Canadian NHL franchises, the Jets are the second newest after the Las Vegas Knights

Vancouver Canucks

  • Founded in 1994 and is one of the best professional ice hockey teams in the world
  • The Canucks are one of the most valuable assets to the city of Vancouver
  • In 2011, Canucks fans started a riot in downtown Vancouver after the team lost the 2011 Stanley Cup 

Why is hockey so popular in Canada?

Well, there are two reasons for this. One, hockey is Canada’s official national winter sport. Hockey is also the greatest contribution to Canada’s involvement in world sports, like the Winter Olympic Games. And two, Canada is considered the birthplace of ice hockey. As such, Canadians tend to regard the sport as their own. 

Other reasons why fans watch hockey may include the fast-paced nature of the sport and the game: the slap shots, the pace, how fast the puck glides across the ice, and the players themselves. Everything is just so fast and exciting at the same time. There simply isn’t enough time to doze off during a hockey game. Something is always happening and if you look away for a few seconds, chances are you’ll miss a goal or a smooth wrist shot. 

Where to watch the games

Each of the 7 Canadian hockey teams plays in their home city for home games. For example, the Vancouver Canucks play at Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver, the Montreal Canadiens play at Centre Bell in Montreal, and so on. 

If you are thinking of attending a hockey game in person, a simple Google search will yield plenty of options to purchase tickets. For the Vancouver Canucks, you can head to Vancouver Canucks Tickets to find a seat. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, you can find tickets on Ticketmaster or the official NHL website. And for the rest of the teams, you will most likely find tickets on Ticketmaster

Watching it live on TV

If you prefer to watch from the comfort of your home, there are plenty of streaming options that stream live games in both Canada and the US. 

NHL’s list of streaming products is as follows:

  • Sportsnet NOW Premium is for Canadian users only
  • NHL.TV
  • Star+
  • ESPN Player
  • ESPN Play
  • ESPN App
  • Viaplay

Sources: nhl.com, Facts About Canada: Hockey Teams, Why do Canadians love hockey so much?  

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