Lacrosse is one of the oldest organized sports in North America. While at one point it was a field game or ritual played by First Nations, it became popular among non-Indigenous peoples in the mid-1800s. When the National Lacrosse Association of Canada was formed in 1867, it was the Dominion of Canada’s first governing body of sport. Lacrosse was confirmed as Canada’s official summer sport in 1994. The Canadian national lacrosse teams (men and women) rank highly in the world standings, both in field and box lacrosse.
The Edmonton Grads (1915–40) was a women’s championship basketball team coached by Percy Page. During their 25 years as a team, the Grads won an astounding 95 per cent of their matches. The Grads were national and world champions, often defeating their opponents by lopsided scores. The team won the Underwood International Trophy (USA–Canada) for 17 years straight (1923 to 1940), and was undefeated in 24 matches held in conjunction with the Olympic Summer Games in 1924, 1928 and 1936. The Grads were named to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Kay MacBeth (née MacRitchie) was the last player to join the Edmonton Grads, a women’s basketball team James Naismith, inventor of the game, considered “the finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor.” At 95 years old, MacBeth is also the last surviving Grad, a club that played from 1915 to 1940. In those 25 years, the Grads accumulated a record that is quite possibly beyond parallel. Over the course of some 400 official outings, the Grads lost only 20 games. The Grads were both national and world champions who often defeated their opponents by lopsided scores. MacBeth played for the Grads in 1939–40. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Snowboarding is the sport of riding a large flat ski downhill over snow. Unlike downhill skiing, snowboarding does not require the use of poles and both feet are placed sideways on the same board. A relative newcomer to the family of winter sports, snowboarding began to gain popularity in the 1960s and rose in status from the latest "gimmick" to an accredited Olympic event in 1998, a relatively short period of time. Canadians have had great success over the years in international snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games, Winter X Games and World Snowboarding Championships. Eight Canadian snowboarders have won Olympic medals — Ross Rebagliati, Dominique Maltais, Mike Robertson, Maëlle Ricker, Jasey-Jay Anderson, Mark McMorris, Max Parrot and Laurie Blouin. Rebagliati, Ricker and Anderson won Olympic gold, while Maltais and McMorris are multiple medallists.
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, that plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Since its founding in 1995, the team has won five division titles and made the playoffs 10 times. In 2017–18, the Raptors finished atop the Eastern Conference regular season standings. After the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA.
Olympic Games are an international sports competition, held every four years. Until 1992 the Olympic Summer Games and the Olympic Winter Games were held in the same year, but beginning in 1994 they were rescheduled so that they are held in alternate even-numbered years.
Para ice hockey (also known as sledge hockey) is a version of ice hockey played by athletes with a lower-extremity disability. Players use a two-bladed sledge, as well as sticks with spikes at one end for propulsion and curved blades at the other end for shooting. Canada is a world power in the game and has won medals at all of the Paralympic Games except 2002 and 2010. In 2016, the International Paralympic Committee decided to rename and rebrand the sport under its jurisdiction. Since November 2016, sledge hockey has been officially known as para ice hockey.
The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged most valuable to his team in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The player is selected following the final game of the playoffs by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The trophy was first presented in 1964 in honour of Conn Smythe, former coach, manager and owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the only Maple Leaf to win the award was Dave Keon (1967). Two-time winners are Bobby Orr (1970 and 1972), Bernie Parent (1974 and 1975), Wayne Gretzky (1985 and 1988), Mario Lemieux (1991 and 1992) and Sidney Crosby (2016, 2017) while Patrick Roy won the award three times (1986, 1993, 2001). Five players have won the trophy despite their team losing the Stanley Cup Final: Roger Crozier (1966), Glenn Hall (1968), Reggie Leach (1976), Ron Hextall (1987) and Jean-Sébastien Giguère (2003).
Toronto FC (also known as TFC or “The Reds”) is a men’s professional soccer team that plays in Major League Soccer (MLS). Founded in 2006 by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the club has won the Voyageurs Cup six times (2009–2012 and 2016–17). They have made it to the MLS playoffs three times (2015, 2016 and 2017), becoming the first Canadian club to reach the MLS Cup final in 2016 and the first to win the MLS Cup in 2017. TFC has competed in the CONCACAF Champions League five times, making it as far as the finals in 2018. The club is one of three MLS franchises in Canada, including Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The Paralympic Games are an international competition for elite athletes with a disability. The name comes from "para," as in "parallel" or "equal." Like the Olympics, the Paralympic Games take place every two years, alternating between summer and winter sports. The country hosting the Olympic Games also hosts the Paralympics. Canada has participated in the Paralympic Games since 1968.
The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America. Donated by Governor General Lord Stanley in 1892 for presentation to the top hockey team in Canada, it was first awarded to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (1892–93). Since 1926, the Stanley Cup competition has been under the control of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful team in Stanley Cup history, with 24 victories, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise with 13. These two “Original Six” teams dominated the championship from the 1940s to the 1970s.
The Arctic Winter Games (AWG) are biennial games initiated in 1970 to provide northern athletes with opportunities for training and competition, and to promote cultural and social interchange among northern peoples. Although the Games originated in North America, they have grown to include athletes from other parts of the world, including Greenland and parts of Russia, including Magadan, Sápmi and Yamal.
The Art Ross Trophy is awarded annually to the player who leads the National Hockey League in scoring points during the regular season. If there is a tie at the end of the season, the trophy is awarded to the player with the most goals. The trophy was donated in 1948 by Arthur Howey Ross, general manager of the Boston Bruins. Several players have won the award multiple times, including Wayne Gretzky (10 times), Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux (6 times), Phil Esposito and Jaromir Jagr (5), Stan Mikita (4), and Bobby Hull and Guy Lafleur (3).