Nobody ices out Canada when it comes to caring about sports teams. The Great White North is home to some of the brightest sports stars, strongest teams, and most energetic fanbases in the world. It’s no surprise that travelers from throughout North America make sports pilgrimages to the ice hockey capital of the world every year. However, many visitors don’t count on the fact that Canada has an electrifying sports scene that simply cannot be contained within the rink! In addition to being the ultimate place for ice hockey, Canada boasts world-class league participation for baseball, basketball, lacrosse, and more. The best part about visiting Canada for a sports vacation is that it’s easy to get there, easy to enjoy comfortable accommodations, and easy to get a great seat at an intense game. The fact that many of the best arenas in Canada are located in amazing cities creates the perfect opportunity for a cultured trip that involves visits to parks, museums, restaurants, wildlife sanctuaries, and more!
Traveling to Canada to see games in person is becoming a very hot vacation option. The hardest part about planning a trip is narrowing down which team to follow. While Canada’s roster of great teams is too large to be contained in a short roundup, the guide below offers an apt introduction to the most iconic Canadian sports teams. Here’s a look at some team stats that will inspire you to make your next vacation a Canada sports vacation!
Getting to Know Canadian Hockey Teams
Ice hockey is a fierce, fast-paced sport with a fanbase to match. Canada is home to seven professional ice hockey teams. When getting an understanding of what makes the ice hockey world tick in Canada, it’s helpful to have a little bit of background information on how teams run. Four of Canada’s ice hockey teams are partially owned by NHL franchises located elsewhere in North America. The other three compete professionally outside of their home country even though they’re part of an ownership structure that allows them to use local payer payrolls. Next, take a look at the teams that give Canada its reputation for fire on the ice!
The Toronto Maple Leafs
You can’t think about Canadian ice hockey without thinking about the Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition to being one of the most successful franchises in NHL history, the team has brought home two Stanley Cup wins. This is also the most valuable NHL team in existence. Yes, the Maple Leaf brand is currently worth more than $1 billion. When you come to Canada to see the Maple Leafs play in person, you’ll be treated to the experience of a lifetime during a visit to the team’s home base at Scotiabank Arena. Scotiabank Arena Center is also where fans can witness the fierce rivalry between Montreal and Ottawa play out in person. The Maple Leafs team is no stranger to rivalries. Currently, the team is enveloped in rivalries with four NHL franchises. That means that the stakes get incredibly high whenever the team is in the presence of the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, or Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs team competes in the NHL as a member of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. During their first 14 seasons, the team famously played at Mutual Street Arena. It then moved to Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931. However, modern-day fans who have been following the team since 1999 are more than familiar with Scotiabank Arena! It’s amazing to think that the team was technically founded all the way back in 1917. Of course, fans back then knew the team simply as Toronto. The team would be renamed the Toronto Saint Patricks in 1919 before ultimately being named the Maple Leafs after passing ownership hands. Part of the “Original Six” club of the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs team has won 13 Stanley Cup championships. In fact, the team is topped only by the incredible 24 wins earned by the Montreal Canadiens.
All of this adds up to create one of the most important sports teams in history! Finally, there’s one piece of trivia for Maple Leaf fans to know about before heading to Canada. The team has retired a total of 13 numbers in honor of 19 players.
The Ottawa Senators
Founded in 1992, the Ottawa Senators are famous for participating in 16 out of 20 playoffs. Of course, fans know that 2007 was the big year when the team finally claimed an easy victory after losing just two games all series long. The skilled players on this famous team are continuing to make things more interesting every year! Fans who pile in to watch Ottawa Senators home games know just how wild things can get at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Montreal Canadiens
Canada loves the Montreal Canadiens like nothing else! Founded in 1909, this team has an incredible 24 Stanley Cup wins to its name. In fact, no other team can even come close to touching the Canadiens when it comes to Stanley Cup wins. Known as “the habs” by fans, the team is also the longest continually operating ice hockey team in the world! Yes, the Montreal Canadiens boast more than 100 seasons of exceptional performance! In fact, the team actually predates the creation of what would become the NHL. Fans know that the Montreal Canadiens have been playing home games at Bell Centre since 1996. If you’re been following team history, you might know that Bell Centre replaced the Molson Dryden Arena after that venue failed to keep up with the capacity needs of ticket-hungry fans. Of course, the excitement over this beloved team has only continued to grow after a recent championship title was won two years ago.
Getting to Know Canadian Baseball Teams
Canadian baseball teams can be counted on to continuously knock it out of the park! While there are many different levels of baseball in North America, most fans are devoted to their time-tested Major League Baseball (MLB) favorites. The MLB is made up of two leagues with 30 teams. Those teams are split based on an annual schedule spanning from March through October. Canadian baseball fans take great pride in the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays compete at the MLB level.
The Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are sacred in Canada simply because this is the only Canadian team represented in Major League Baseball. Established in 1977, the Blue Jays play as part of the American league’s East Division. The team has had a tremendous amount of historical success over the decades. In addition to winning five division titles over nine seasons spanning from 1985 to 1993, the Blue Jays had an amazing streak lasting from 1991 to 1993 that saw them capturing World Series crowns twice against teams in the United States.
Getting to Know Canadian Basketball Teams
They say the hoops get hotter as you get closer to the Arctic Circle. The boldness of Canada’s basketball scene is proof of that! Is basketball popular in Canada? While there’s no question that the rink is where true fandom lives in Canada, it’s undeniable that Canadian sports fans really bring the fury to the court when cheering on their favorite basketball teams. Many people are unaware of the fact that Canada does actually participate in the National Basketball Association (NBA). While the NBA is made up of 30 teams, only one of those teams is a Canadian team.
The Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors is a team that spreads its wings as the only Canadian team to participate in the NBA. Founded in 1995, the team competes in the NBA as a member of the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Fans who have watched the team from home have seen the Raptors dominate at home games from the Scotiabank Arena. Of course, fans with a sharp eye may notice that Scotiabank Arena is also the home stage for Toronto Maple Leafs. The founding of the Toronto Raptors during the 1990s took place as part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada. While the team stands today as the only NBA team in Canada, things didn’t start out that way. The Raptors were founded alongside a team called the Vancouver Grizzlies. The Grizzlies played as part of the NBA’s Midwest Division of the Western Conference before relocating from Vancouver to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001.
How to Plan a Canadian Sports Vacation
How do fans get to the Great White North to catch red-hot sports legends throw aside that famed Canadian hospitality to get ruthless on the rink? Major League Sports-Cations is your ticket to Canada! We offer all-inclusive sports holidays to this sports capital of North America. Fans can visit some of Canada’s most iconic cities to tour stadiums, watch games, and get right in the epicenter of the fandom. Canada is a premier sports destination for fans who love hockey, baseball, and basketball. Book your getaway today!