When it comes to sports, Canada has always been a real trend setter, and their neighbours down south are often game to follow suit. The world has Canada and the US to thank for a lot of its favourite sports, as they have innovated many of the games that are now played across the world. The latest game to boom in popularity in Canada is off the court though—online casinos have been enjoying great success, and some new legislation in the US means that they are likely to soon follow suit.
For whatever reason, Canada is a real gold mine when it comes to creating popular sports. Maybe it’s the long winters thinking of things to do outside, or maybe it’s just in in their nature. The US has also come up with sports of their own, and also had a hand in popularizing Canadian sports before they spread to the rest of the world. Here are 4 sports we can thank North America for putting on the world stage.
Way back in 1891, a Canadian-American physical education teacher named James Naismith had to come up with a game to keep students entertained during the Massachusetts winter. The result was basketball…or something like it. They originally played with nine players to a team, a football instead of a modern basketball, and two peach baskets instead of hoops. After the rules were modified a bit to keep the players from tackling one another on the hard gym floor, it took off in popularity.
It didn’t take long for basketball to make its way to Europe. Just two years later, the first European basketball game was played in Paris. Since then, basketball has become one of the world’s most popular sports and has been included in the Olympics since 1936. In 2019, a Canadian team won the NBA Finals for the first time when the Toronto Raptors took the title over California’s Golden State Warriors.
2. Ice Hockey
Ice hockey is the quintessential Canadian sport, and around half of NHL players call Canada home. It wasn’t invented by a single person like basketball was, but instead evolved from lots of other sports that involved hitting a ball with a stick while running or skating. The game as we know it was popularized in Montreal, where the first official indoor hockey game was held in 1875.
As time went by, the world took a liking to ice hockey, and it’s now a major sport in North America, as well as in much of Europe and Asia. It’s one of the only sports where fighting among players is a common occurrence, which also happens to be one of the reasons it’s entertaining to watch.
We usually think of baseball as a characteristic US pastime, but it was actually played in Canada before the US, and likely originated in England. The first official game of baseball was in Ontario in 1838.
Its popularity in the United States really took off in 1850s New York City, and it quickly became a part of American culture. It’s often one of the first sports that kids play, and summer baseball games and ballpark hotdogs are an essential American experience for many. Today, baseball around the world has taken on an American flavor as a result of its popularity in the US.
4. American football
Americans are strangely disinterested in football, which captivates most of the rest of the world. American football is their stand-in, and is one of the country’s favourite sports. The first game of American football was between Rutgers and Princeton in 1863, but it wasn’t exactly what we’d call American football today. Players batted the ball around with their bodies, but couldn’t carry it. By 1873, the game had its first official rules, and soon started to spread. Rules for scoring, field sizes, and downs were implemented along the way as the game evolved.
No one besides Americans is particularly interested in their brand of football. It isn’t an Olympic sport, and only Canada, Mexico, and Japan have a significant American football tradition. Even so, American football is well known around the globe.
Who knows what the next big sport out of North America could be. But for now, if there are no good sports on TV, you can always count on finding a great game in an online casino.
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