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A wide variety of sports are practiced in Canada. Ice hockey, referred to as simply hockey in their country, is Canada's official winter sport, its most popular spectator sport, and its most successful sport in international competition. Lacrosse, a sport with Aboriginal origins, is Canada's oldest sport and official summer sport. A unique code of football known as 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, but has never enjoyed sustained popularity as a major professional spectator sport.

Other popular team sports include baseball, basketball, cricket, curling, field hockey, rugby, cricket and softball. 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 the Summer Olympics, although significant regional variations in climate allow for a wide variety of both team and individual sports. Major upcoming multi-sport events in Canada include the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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. A list of Canada's Athletes of the 20th Century was published in 1999.

Canada is a nation with two official sports. Since its founding, and until 1994, the official sport was lacrosse, a sport invented by Aboriginal peoples. In 1994, First Nations groups objected to a government bill that proposed establishing ice hockey as Canada's national sport, arguing that it neglected and obliterated recognition of the game of lacrosse, a uniquely Native contribution. In response, the House of Commons amended the bill "to recognize hockey as Canada's National Winter Sport and lacrosse as Canada's National Summer Sport." On May 12, 1994, in Bill C-212, ice hockey joined lacrosse as official sports of Canada.

The modern form of ice hockey began in Canada in the late 1800s, and is widely considered Canada's national pastime, with high levels of participation by children, men and women at various levels of competition. The most popular leagues are the amateur Canadian Hockey League, and the professional National Hockey League, which has six teams in Canada: the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks. The Canadian NHL presence peaked with eight teams in the mid-1990s, before the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1995 and the Winnipeg Jets relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. Hockey Night in Canada is a longtime national Saturday night television broadcast featuring Canadian NHL teams. Hockey Canada is the sport's official governing body in Canada and member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Lacrosse was named Canada's National Game by Parliament in 1859, and since 1994 has been the official summer sport of Canada. The Canadian Lacrosse Association, founded in 1925, is the governing body of lacrosse in Canada. It conducts national junior and senior championship tournaments for men and women in both field and box lacrosse. It also participated in the inaugural World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in 2003. The National Lacrosse League is a professional box lacrosse league, with franchises in Canada and the United States. The 2006 World Lacrosse Championship was held in London, Ontario. Canada beat the United States 15-10 in the final to break a 28-year U.S. winning streak. Widely regarded as the best lacrosse player of all time, Gary Gait was born in Victoria, British Columbia and has won every possible major lacrosse championship. Great achievements in Canadian Lacrosse are recognized by the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada's only Major League Baseball team, founded in 1977. The Montreal Expos club played in Montreal from 1969 until 2004 when they moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The Blue Jays were the first non-American team to host a World Series Game (in 1992) and the only non-American team to win the World Series (back to back in 1992 and 1993). The Blue Jays had the highest attendance in Major League Baseball during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Professional baseball has a long history in Canada, beginning with teams such as the London Tecumsehs, Montreal Royals, and Toronto Maple Leafs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. All three were included on the National Baseball Association's top 100 minor league teams.

A number of Canadians have played in the major leagues, and several have won the highest honors in baseball. Ferguson Jenkins won the National League Cy Young Award in 1971 as the best pitcher in the league, and in 1991 became the first Canadian inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Larry Walker was National League MVP for the 1997 season. Éric Gagné won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003. Jason Bay was the first Canadian to win rookie of the year honors in 2004, and Justin Morneau was the American League MVP for the 2006 season.

Canada participated in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, in which it upset Team USA in first-round play, which some people in Canada call the "Miracle on Dirt" (a play on the phrase "Miracle on Ice" for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team). There are a number of minor league, semi-professional and collegiate baseball teams in Canada (see List of baseball teams in Canada). Great achievements in Canadian baseball are recognized by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada's only Major League Baseball team, founded in 1977. The Montreal Expos club played in Montreal from 1969 until 2004 when they moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The Blue Jays were the first non-American team to host a World Series Game (in 1992) and the only non-American team to win the World Series (back to back in 1992 and 1993). The Blue Jays had the highest attendance in Major League Baseball during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Professional baseball has a long history in Canada, beginning with teams such as the London Tecumsehs, Montreal Royals, and Toronto Maple Leafs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. All three were included on the National Baseball Association's top 100 minor league teams.

A number of Canadians have played in the major leagues, and several have won the highest honors in baseball. Ferguson Jenkins won the National League Cy Young Award in 1971 as the best pitcher in the league, and in 1991 became the first Canadian inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Larry Walker was National League MVP for the 1997 season. Éric Gagné won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003. Jason Bay was the first Canadian to win rookie of the year honors in 2004, and Justin Morneau was the American League MVP for the 2006 season.

Canada participated in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, in which it upset Team USA in first-round play, which some people in Canada call the "Miracle on Dirt" (a play on the phrase "Miracle on Ice" for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team). There are a number of minor league, semi-professional and collegiate baseball teams in Canada (see List of baseball teams in Canada). Great achievements in Canadian baseball are recognized by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Basketball is a popular spectator sport in parts of Canada, especially in Southern Ontario. The National Basketball Association expanded into Canada in 1995 with the addition of the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies. The Grizzlies moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, but the Raptors continue to draw healthy crowds at the Air Canada Centre. The 2005 and 2006 NBA MVP Steve Nash is from British Columbia and has played in international competitions for Canada's national team. The Carleton Ravens have dominated the Canadian University championship in recent years. Basketball's inventor, James Naismith, was Canadian; born in Almonte, Ontario, he was working as a physical education instructor in Massachusetts when he created the game in 1891.

Rugby football in Canada had its origins in the early 1860s, and over time, a unique sport known as Canadian football developed. Canadian football is similar to American football, and many professional Canadian football players are "imports" from the United States. Both the Canadian Football League (CFL), the sport's only fully professional league, and Football Canada, the governing body for amateur play, trace their roots to 1884 and the founding of the Canadian Rugby Football Union. Currently active teams such as the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have similar longevity. The CFL's championship game, the Grey Cup, is the country's single largest sporting event and is watched by nearly one third of Canadian television households. Canadian football is also played at the high school, junior, collegiate, and semi-professional levels: the Canadian Junior Football League and Quebec Junior Football League are for players aged 18-22, many post-secondary institutions compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport for the Vanier Cup, and senior leagues such as the Alberta Football League have grown in popularity in recent years. Great achievements in Canadian football are recognized by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame which is located in Hamilton, Ontario.

Although the National Football League of the United States has no teams in Canada, American football is quite popular in Canada as a televised spectator sport.

Cricket is a popular sport in Canada. Canada has around as many cricketers as rugby players, estimated at 13,000. While Canada is not sanctioned to play Test matches, the team does take part in One Day International (ODI) 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 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. The most famous Canadian cricketer is John Davison, who was born in Canada and participated in the Cricket World Cup in both 2003 and 2007. 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 as well as scoring 84 runs of his own. In the 2007 Cricket World Cup in West Indies, John Davison scored the second fastest half century against New Zealand. Canada has participated in the 1979, 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cup's. Canada has traditionally had a strong Woman's team.

It is estimated that there are about 1.3 million curlers in Canada, which makes up about 94% of the curlers in the world. Curling is most popular in the prairie provinces with the most competitive teams in recent years coming from the province of Alberta. However, curling has a degree of popularity across the country. For example, a team from Quebec, which is not a traditional hotbed of curling, won the Tim Hortons Brier (national men's championship) in 2006. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is the national women's championship. The Canadian Curling Association is the sport's national governing body; great achievements are recognized by the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

Canada has around 13,000 seniors and twice as many junior players spread across the country many of these come from Canada's rugby stronghold of British Columbia. It is also strong in Newfoundland and Ontario. The leading domestic competition is the Rugby Canada Super League organised by Rugby Canada, the sports governing body. The Canadian national side have competed in every Rugby World Cup to date yet have only won one match each tournament with the exception of the 1991 tournament where they reached the quarter finals and the 2007 tournament when their best result was a draw against Japan in the group stage.

Soccer's governing body in Canada is the Canadian Soccer Association, which traces its roots to the 1880s. While the national women's team is competitive internationally (finishing fourth place at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, and 2nd place at the 2002 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship), the national men's team struggles (appeared at one World Cup in 1986 and did not score a goal). At the professional level, the sport has never had major sustained success, with teams coming and going in leagues such as the North American Soccer League in the 1970s and 1980s. As of 2007, there are a number of teams in minor leagues such as the CSL and USL. As well, Toronto FC is growing in popularity as a team in Major League Soccer.

Canada hosted the FIFA U-16 World Championship 1987 and FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship 2002, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which was played in the cities of Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria and Vancouver. It was the largest FIFA event ever hosted by Canada. Great achievements in Canadian soccer are recognized by the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

  

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