Few countries in the world have one sport that dominates national attention like ice hockey does in Canada. Stories about the game and its stars are omnipresent in the media, and the NHL counts 17 million hockey fans in Canada, 11 million of them “avid.” This is in a country with a population of just 35 million.
Compare that to the passion for Rugby Union in New Zealand, where they still have a plethora of other sports they excel at, such as cricket, field hockey and netball. In stark contrast, Canada has focused squarely on ice hockey since it was introduced in the region.
But there are signs that other sports are beginning to break into the monopoly, with basketball leading the way.