What Are Canada’s Two National Sports?

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What Are Canada’s Two National Sports?

Canada has two that are recognized as national sports – hockey and lacrosse. While hockey is often the first to come to mind when you think of the country, lacrosse is, in fact, also recognized as a national pastime.

But what makes these two particular sports so important to Canadians? Let’s take a closer look. 

The History of Hockey 

Hockey is considered Canada’s national winter sport, and for a good reason. It is believed that modern hockey originated in Nova Scotia in the late 19th century, though its roots can be traced back much further than that.

In 1875, Lord Stanley, then Governor-General of Canada (now a part of the Commonwealth), donated a trophy for an annual competition between amateur ice hockey clubs across Canada. This trophy became known as the Stanley Cup, which is still awarded today to the champion team of the National Hockey League (NHL). 

The History of Lacrosse 

Lacrosse was officially declared Canada’s national summer sport in 1994. This game dates back centuries; it was originally played by Indigenous peoples in North America as far back as 1100 AD.

Though there were some slight variations between regions throughout this period, by 1850, lacrosse had become standardized enough that teams from different tribes could play each other with relative ease.

Today, many Canadian cities have professional lacrosse teams, such as the Toronto Rock or Calgary Roughnecks, who compete against each other in Major League Lacrosse (MLL).  


Hockey and lacrosse are both deeply embedded in Canadian culture and history. While many other sports are popular amongst Canadians, such as curling or basketball, these two are especially beloved by Canadians, both young and old, which is why they have been recognized as our nation’s official sports.

If you’re ever looking for something fun to do with your friends or family during the summer or winter months, consider giving one of these two iconic Canadian sports a try.