History of Hockey in the Greater Toronto Area
Montreal might be known as the birthplace of hockey, but the greater Toronto area is also a significant part of the sport’s roots. No one can say for sure when a Toronto native first picked up a stick and hit the ice, but we do know when hockey officially became a hit in the city.
As you might have expected, the history of hockey in Toronto had a different beginning than in just about any other area. The “ball and stick on ice” had been around Canada for a decade, but in 1888 a couple of teams decided to lace up their skates and play indoors. They played with the correct sticks, they had rules, and they even had media there to cover the event. We know that the game ended 4-1 and that the coverage of that game was enough to generate some buzz.
That was the real start of hockey in Toronto.
The fact that the history of hockey in Toronto began indoors is significant because it means that it was planned; this wasn’t a pickup hockey game. A couple of teams got together, decided to play a relatively unknown game, and word of mouth spread how great the game was.
Obviously, those early games were significant considering how much the sport has grown since then. It is easily the most popular sport in Canada, and it has been for some time. People love the sounds and the speed of the game, and they appreciate the amount of skill it takes to make it to the highest levels. Unsurprisingly, hockey now officially the national winter sport of Canada.
How popular is hockey in Canada today? Well, over a half-million people play the game, more than in any other country. Young people from every cultural background want to go out on the ice and mimic their favorite players. Local pickup hockey is played in local areas all year round, there are multiple semi-pro leagues, and, of course, there are some pretty popular NHL teams.
Hockey may not be the oldest sport in Toronto, but that should only tell you how much people love the game. It seemed to pop up out of nowhere in the late 1800s and locals have been enamored with it ever since.