Hockey (2/10)

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Who are we? Every once in a while, we wonder, locals and immigrants alike. People shaped the country we live in, but the face of this same country changed, evolved and reflects today’s world as well as its history. At least, I hope so, because I consider change chance and not a threat.

Canada is a multicultural country. Today, according to the BBC , 20% of people living in Canada are foreign-born and 250 000 newcomers make Canada their home each year. These people will soon be Canadians are most of them will adapt to the North American way of life, while bringing some aspects of their own culture in Canada. Food, languages, customs, skills… we all win.

Yet, some are scared. Who are we? We all are the faces of Canada. The traditional Anglo-European face of the country is changing, that’s true. But Canada is very much alive. National identity isn’t something static and we don’t have to look alike to form a country. A lot of things make Canada a distinct country, from the trivial little things to political choices, from geographical places to special people, from values we share to things that bring us together.

In 2008, I’ll apply for Canadian citizenship. I first came here in 2002 and I’ll be one of these foreign-born. French. Canadian. And a citizen of the world.

What defines Canada? I’m starting a series on our icons, from people to places, from everyday life’s items to sports, from trademarks to customs. Don’t expect anything too deep: this is Canada the way I see it. I don’t bring answers. I just want to share, and I will with you every Saturday — enjoy!


One of the reason we can stand the cold weather and long winters is… hockey, Canada’s national sport. Think soccer for Brazil, NFL football for the US or cricket for India. That popular. The hockey season ends with the Stanley Cup play-offs, then finals. I don’t have statistics, but I would bet that productivity at work dramatically decreases during that time!

Hockey is a really fun sport to watch. The game usually lasts 60 minutes (plus overtime if needed) and it’s a speedy game. A famous rivalry in Canada opposes Toronto’s Maple Leaf to basically the rest of the country. But Canada also love playing Russia, Sweden, Finland, and of course the USA.

Hockey is also famous for its fights, an established aspect of the sport. Elbowing, high-sticking, roughing are perfectly acceptable… and expected.

I’m not a sports person myself, but I must admit I like hockey. First, going to a game is really fun. The atmosphere is very friendly and fans of the two teams respect each other even if taunting is part of the game. Nothing like with soccer in Europe where fans are put meters apart with the anti-riots cops in-between. Second, even if you don’t understand all the rules and the lingo, you won’t be bored watching the players skate at a pretty amazing speed and hit each other (blood is bonus). A period is only twenty minutes long besides. Finally, Canadians take hockey seriously and being able to quote a great hockey moment (fight, scoring, penalty…) is the best way to make new friends!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Yes, Candians love their hockey, and Americans love their baseball.

    Personally, when two neighboring countries spend their leisure time swinging wooden objects at stuff, it makes me happy we’re friends. 🙂

  2. I love hockey! Good thing here in Buffalo is that I get to have a choice between hockey and football. The thing with football that I don’t like is that it is too slow; it stops and goes too much. Hockey on the other hand is fast-paced. I can follow the game easily, instead of trying to figure out why the action stopped again, like in football.

  3. Yes, I’ve been impressed with the insanity that is hockey in Canada. I expected everyone to be crazy about the NHL, but I didn’t expect how much they care about Junior Hockey. In Minnesota, where hockey is about as popular as it possibly can be in the U.S., most people don’t care about the Junior Hockey championships, but here it was practically a holiday. One thing I don’t see as often in Toronto is pond hockey, though I’m sure it’s popular outside of the GTA. In Minnesota, everywhere you go in winter, there are kids on lakes.

  4. SilverNeurotic on

    I hate watching most sports as well, but hockey is fun. I’ve never played ice hockey, but I’ve played floor hockey…uh, without the skates, and that’s great too!

  5. Citizen of the World with another citizenship? Do you actually need another one?
    Hockey, football, basket are great ways to get crazy around a game…
    Have a great weekend!

  6. i tried watching hockey growing up, but I just can’t get into it…then again, I said the same thing about Baseball and now I’m a huge Seattle Mariners fan.

  7. Ghosty: 😆 I think the US like all sports, it’s just amazing to see the marketing behind.

    Art: go one day if you get a chance. It worth it!

    Linguist-In-Waiting: same here! The fast-paced is the main reason why I like hockey. Unlike baseball… during which I always fall asleep… 😆

    Silverneurotic: I’m still too lazy to play, I just watch it!

    Johnada: well, considering the Maple Leafs, I understand hockey being not that popular in Canada! Same here in Ottawa, minor leagues are like sold out. Weird eh?

    Spyder: not to mention that some players are really cute!

    Jay Cam: nah, just a regular permanent resident — you would call me an Alien in the South.

    Trotter: Of course! I like to collect citizenships 😉

    Sir Jorge: it really depends where you grew up I guess. Hockey in California… I know the team is big but still, you don’t have the weather to practice much!

  8. Always nice to ‘see’ Canada through your eyes. I so much remember finals in WC and Olympics with Canada against Russia, sometimes US, and Sweden of course (never Norway, except for the Olympics in Oslo in 52).

    You compared the popularity of Hockey with ‘soccer’ as you call it in Northern America. I kind of think it is a bit funny you call yours ‘football’ as you mostly use your hands 🙄

    I suppose your next post will be about curling then? I mean that’s also a sport where Canadians roles (and where Norwegians sometimes beats them LoL).

    Btw: Thanks for your visit and comments, and yea: your gravatar works 😉

  9. Now you just made me want to watch some! But in Canada. Please send me the flight schedules.
    I bet enjoying hockey is mandatory for a successful immigration application. Must be written in the Constitution. Don’t say no, you know I’m right 🙂

  10. I think it’s cool to watch ice hockey live at the arena! Canada has to take advantage of that since she’s blessed with snow and ice.

    Here in Malaysia the 2 biggest fevers are soccer and badminton. 😉

  11. You like Hockey?! My god girl what have they done to you ? Over there in the land of unlimited snow and linguistic rioting? Of course, things could be worse, you could have liked cricket which would have instantly put you in my hit list and I would have to execute you just on basic principle!

    So yeah, girl, hockey I can take, after all nobody is perfect. At least it has quick pace and there is something ridiculously satisfying when people beat each other up while trying not to fall on their butts:) So you used to be a French gal infiltrating Canada and you are transforming into a Canadian girl full of pathos for… ahem… hockey… oookkkk… I can live with that…barely…:)

    Take care!

  12. BobHockeyGuy on

    I just found out that the CBC has launched Canadas Hockey Anthem Challenge contest to find a new song for its weekly hockey broadcast. The prize is $100,000, 50% going to minor hockey.

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