Portal:Sport in Canada

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The Sports of Canada Portal
This is a sister portal of the Canada Portal

Introduction

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The sporting culture of Canada consists of a variety of games. Although there are many contests that Canadians value, the most common are ice hockey, Canadian football, basketball, soccer, and baseball. Great achievements in Canadian sport are recognized by Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, while the Lou Marsh Trophy is awarded annually to Canada's top athlete by a panel of journalists.

Ice hockey, referred to as simply "hockey", is Canada's most prevalent winter sport, its most popular spectator sport, and its most successful sport in international competition as well as being Canada's official winter sport. Lacrosse, a sport with Native American origins, is Canada's oldest and official summer sport. Canadian football is Canada's second most popular spectator sport, and the Canadian Football League's annual championship, the Grey Cup, is the country's largest annual sports event. Association football, known in Canada as soccer in both English and French, has the most registered players of any sport in Canada.

Other popular team sports include curling, street hockey, cricket, rugby and softball. Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Canada currently. Popular individual sports include auto racing, boxing, cycling, golf, hiking, horse racing, ice skating, rodeo, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, tennis, triathlon, track and field, water sports, and wrestling. As a country with a generally cool climate, Canada has enjoyed greater success at the Winter Olympics than at the Summer Olympics, although significant regional variations in climate allow for a wide variety of both team and individual sports. Major multi-sport events in Canada include the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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The Stanley Cup (French: La Coupe Stanley) is an ice hockey club trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs champion. It has been referred to as The Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously (chiefly by sportswriters) as Lord Stanley's Mug or Lord Stanley's Cup. The Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne out of the cup by the winning team. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; Cup winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is unusual among trophies, in that it has the name of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on its chalice. The original bowl was made of silver and has a dimension of 18.5 centimeters (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimeters (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup, topped with a copy of the original bowl, is made of silver and nickel alloy. Today, it has a height of 89.54 centimeters (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kilograms (34.5 lb / 2 st 6½ lb).

Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892 by then Governor General of Canada the Lord Stanley of Preston, as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, the Cup became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. The Cup later became the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.

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The Canada cricket team is the national cricket team representing Canada in men's international competition. It is run by Cricket Canada. While Canada is not sanctioned to play Test matches, the team does take part in One Day International matches and also in first-class games (in the ICC Intercontinental Cup) against other non-Test-playing opposition, with the rivalry against the United States cricket team being as strong in cricket as it is in other team sports. The match between these two nations is in fact the oldest international fixture in cricket, having first been played in 1844.

Perhaps the most successful exponent of Canadian cricket has been all-rounder John Davison. Davison was born in Canada but played club and — occasionally — first class cricket in Australia, achieving a reputation as something of a journeyman. Taking advantage of his Canadian birth, he became a regular in the national squad. At the 2003 World Cup, Davison hit the fastest century in tournament history against the West Indies in what was ultimately a losing cause. One year later, in the ICC Intercontinental Cup against the USA, he proved the difference between the two sides taking 17 wickets for 137 runs (the best haul in first-class cricket since England's Jim Laker took 19 wickets in 1956) as well as scoring 84 runs of his own.

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Canadian football game, with inscription "Canadian Sport Series - Foot Ball Match", 1908.

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Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox, CC, OD (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist. In 1980, as a one-legged amputee, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Though the spread of his cancer forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,280 kilometres (3,280 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his determination and example created a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$500 million has been raised in his name.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada's 24 million people. He started with little fanfare from St. John's, Newfoundland in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian award. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.

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The Summer Stakes is a Canadian Thoroughbred horse race run annually at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. Contested on turf over a distance of 1 mile (8 furlongs), it is open to two-year-old horses. Raced in late September/early October, the Grade III event was a Grade II event but in 2006 was downgraded to its present Grade III status. Part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, the winner of the 2008 Summer Stakes automatically qualifies for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Inaugurated in 1953 at Fort Erie Racetrack as a sprint race on dirt, the Summer Stakes was moved to the turf in 1962. Since inception it has been run at various distances:

  • 5 furlongs : 1953-1956 on dirt at Fort Erie Racetrack
  • 5.5 furlongs : 1957-1960, 1961 on dirt at Fort Erie Racetrack
  • 8 furlongs (1 mile) : 1962-1984 on turf at Fort Erie Racetrack, since 1985 on turf at Woodbine Racetrack

The Summer Stakes showcases the rise to fame of many horses including Northern Dancer. Northern Dancer won the "Summer Stakes" in 1963 and won 14 of his next 18 races. Northern Dancer was a Canadian-bred thoroughbred racehorse and would go on to be the most successful sire of the 20th Century.

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