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Is NHL Popular in Canada?

I’ve had the privilege of covering various sporting events and dissecting the popularity of different sports in different countries. One country that stands out for its unwavering passion for a specific sport is Canada.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the enduring popularity of the National Hockey League (NHL) in the Great White North and examine some authentic data and sources that shed light on just how deeply ingrained this sport is in Canadian culture.

Is NHL Popular in Canada?

It’s no secret that hockey is more than just a sport in Canada – it’s a way of life. While the NHL is an American-based league, Canada is home to seven of its 32 teams, and the country has a rich history of producing some of the greatest hockey talent in the world.

The National Hockey League (NHL) boasts seven Canadian hockey franchises, which include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks.

From legends like Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe to modern stars like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid, Canadian players have left an indelible mark on the NHL.

Let’s delve into some authentic data and sources that highlight the popularity of the NHL in Canada:

Toronto Maple Leafs - Canadian NHL Team
Toronto Maple Leafs – Canadian NHL Team | Photo: Instagram

Television Viewership

The primary source of viewership data for NHL games in Canada comes from television ratings. Organizations like Numeris provide viewership data for various TV programs, including sports events. Networks broadcasting NHL games, such as Sportsnet, CBC, and TSN, often release ratings for their broadcasts. These ratings are typically expressed in terms of the number of viewers or households that tuned in to specific games.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), during the 2020-2021 NHL season, an estimated 27.4 million Canadians watched at least one NHL game on television, representing nearly 75% of the population. This statistic alone speaks volumes about the passion Canadians have for hockey.

Youth Participation

Hockey’s popularity is not just limited to the professional level; it starts at the grassroots. According to Hockey Canada, the governing body for amateur hockey in the country, there were over 600,000 registered minor hockey players in Canada during the 2020-2021 season. The extensive participation of young athletes in organized hockey leagues reflects the sport’s deep roots in Canadian communities.

NHL Revenue

The financial success of the NHL in Canada is another testament to its popularity. A report by Statista reveals that the NHL generated approximately 613.4 million U.S. dollars in revenue in Canada during the 2019-2020 season. This includes ticket sales, merchandise, and broadcast rights. The financial investment and support from fans are integral to the league’s success in the country.

Montreal Canadiens - Canadian NHL Team
Montreal Canadiens – Canadian NHL Team | Photo: Instagram

Fandom and Tradition

Hockey in Canada is not just about the NHL; it’s about the traditions and the fervent fan base that celebrates the sport. From the tradition of watching Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays to the passion exhibited by fans in the arena, hockey brings Canadians together. Even in cities without an NHL team, like Quebec City, the sport remains deeply cherished.

In Canada, the NHL is more than just a sport; it’s a cultural institution. The authentic data and sources we’ve explored in this blog post clearly illustrate the enduring popularity of the National Hockey League in the country.

With its rich history, widespread viewership, and passionate involvement of the Canadian people at all levels, it’s safe to say that the NHL will continue to be an integral part of the Canadian sports landscape for generations to come.

So, is the NHL popular in Canada? Absolutely. It’s a cherished part of the nation’s identity, a source of national pride, and a sport that will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Canadians.