Canada's National Game

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David Thompson Secondary School, Vancouver, BC.
Teacher: Tom Morton, Winter 2006, grade 10.

By Carson Ng

When we think of "Canada's National Game", the first thing that usually comes to our minds is hockey. This sport originated from games played by the English such as bandy, shinty, and hurley. During the 19th century, it began to soar in Montreal as it was featured in the Montreal Ice Carnival, where many impressive events were held. Following this, a hockey league was finally organized, after years of preparation, in Kingston with four clubs: Kingston Athletics, Kingston hockey Club, Queen's University, and Royal Military College. To this day, hockey has grown to be a very popular sport. However, it wasn't played until years after lacrosse was. Lacrosse originated from the Algonquian tribes of the St. Lawrence Valley in eastern Canada. For this reason, it was known to be the oldest sport in North America. Also in the 19th century, recreational games of lacrosse amongst native tribes, and between native and English teams, led to the formation of Canada's first lacrosse organization, the Montreal Lacrosse Club. The sport was not spread widely until Dr. W. George Beers saw lacrosse as a way to encourage fitness and bravery of young men. In the late 1800s, he organized a convention, also in Kingston, at which the National Lacrosse Association was formed. Lacrosse can be said that by 1889, the game was so popular that it should have been known as the national game. Throughout the years it became so popular that it was played outside of Canada. However, the question still remains of which sport is truly "Canada's National Game". Is it hockey or lacrosse?

Howell, Nancy and Maxwell L Howell. Sports and Games in Canadian Life, 1700 to the Present, Toronto, Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1969, p. 75.

Marsh, James. ?Ice Hockey?, The Canadian Encylclopedia, [On line], (page consulted February 4, 2005).

Morrow, Don, Mary Keyes, Wayne Simpson, Frank Cosentino and Ron Lappage. A Concise History of Sport in Canada, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 12.

West, Thomas J. ?Lacrosse?, The Canadian Encylclopedia, [On line], (page consulted February 4, 2005).