Hockey Day In Canada celebrates the winter sport of the nation, responsible for some of the most important cultural moments in the history of the country. The 18th edition of this hockey holiday visits Corner Brook, Newfoundland, which serves as the epicenter for this annual festival. Hockey’s part sport and part religion in Canada, one of the aspects of Canadiana which distinguishes the North.

Canada Stops To Pray For Hockey Glory

Corner Brook’s an appropriate locale to host Hockey Day In Canada. The popularity of the sport stretches from coast to coast, including towns, rural regions and cities. When big games arise, like an Olympic gold medal game, Canadians drop what they’re doing and commune in front of the television as high drama unfolds.

During the 2010 Olympics, the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator measured a 300-megawatt power surge during the minutes before the gold medal game, when Torontonians fired up their widescreens before faceoff. As the match proceeded to overtime, an Edmonton water supplier reported a 20% drop in water usage, measuring a mere 320 ml per customer.

After Sidney Crosby scored the gold-winning goal, people waited until the medal ceremony before visiting the washroom or doing laundry, lifting water usage to 460 ml per customer after the golds were handed out – a 43.7% increase in usage. Toronto utilities reported the same spike in water usage after the gold medal ceremony, uniting east and west.

Hockey Verified Modern Canadian Identity

The uncertainty of the 1972 Summit Series between elite Canadian and Russian squads created a brief crisis in confidence for a sport which belonged to Canada. This Cold War clash featured strong sentiments of patriotism and the superiority of democracy over communism. When Russia leapt to a 3-1-1 lead after five games, the Canadian public consciousness buckled under the potential of a high-profile loss.

As time dwindled during the final minutes of the deciding game, schools across Canada stopped classes to listen on radio along with millions of invested Canadians. A national paroxysm of joy and relief washed over Canada when Paul Henderson scored the series winning goal. The storybook comeback was complete, with tiny Canada beating the big, bad, red Russian machine. Canadian toughness and teamwork outshined a massive superpower.

This would launch a long history of Canadian national hockey teams dominating Russia, along with most international tournaments. The only thing missing from Canadian hockey’s a Stanley Cup win, a feat which Canada hasn’t achieved since the Habs won in 1993.

Canada Unifies Through Hockey

Hockey unifies the entire nation during international competition, with eastern and western provinces and territories joining under the Maple Leaf flag. As a multicultural nation of immigrants, one of the more frequent bonding experiences occurs through mutual love of hockey. 

New Canadians find common ground with fellow Canucks when cheering on local teams, from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Canada-wide minor hockey programs help children forge lifelong friendships with peers, with all participants hailing from diverse backgrounds. Put simply, a nation which plays together, stays together.

After Hamarayan Singh became the first play-by-play announcer to call a Hockey Night In Canada broadcast in Punjabi, he specifically referred to the sport bringing Canadians together.

“Growing up in southern Alberta, it was the icebreaker between my classmates and I, and that's what makes Canada so special, the diversity is celebrated and to have a person like myself be in the hockey family, it just speaks to the multiculturalism that is so great."

From southern Alberta to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, the sport of hockey will continue to create bonds among all Canadians. Hockey Day In Canada furthers this legacy once a year, celebrating the best aspects of the national sport which became a unique, cultural touchstone.

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