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National Hockey League (NHL)

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a men’s professional ice hockey league. Widely recognized as the world’s premier hockey league, it was established in Montréal, Québec, in 1917. The league currently includes 31 franchises: 7 in Canada and 24 in the United States. The Canadian teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Teams compete annually for the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.

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1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Series (Summit Series)

For many Canadians, the eight-game series between Team Canada and the national team of the Soviet Union in 1972 provided the greatest moment in the country’s sporting history. Most expected that Canada would handily defeat the Soviet Union, but this confidence quickly disappeared when Canada lost the first game. The series was tied heading into the final game in Moscow, which ended in a dramatic fashion, with Paul Henderson scoring in the final seconds to give Canada the victory. The series would have a lasting impact on hockey in Canada and abroad.

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Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. After the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. Since its founding in 1995, the team has won six division titles, made the playoffs 11 times and won the NBA championship once. Star players have included Damon Stoudamire, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. In 2017–18, the Raptors finished atop the Eastern Conference regular season standings and set a franchise record with 59 wins. They won another division title in 2018–19 and advanced to the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games for their first NBA championship in franchise history.

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Conn Smythe Trophy

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 by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association following the final game of the playoffs. 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 is Dave Keon (1967). Two-time winners include Bobby Orr (1970, 1972), Bernie Parent (1974, 1975), Wayne Gretzky (1985, 1988),  Mario Lemieux (1991, 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).

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Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators are a professional hockey team in the National Hockey League. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, they play at the Canadian Tire Centre, an 18,500-seat arena that first opened in 1996. The modern Senators began playing in the NHL in 1992; they are the second team to play under the name. The original team (officially the Ottawa Hockey Club, but known as the Senators from around 1908) dominated Canadian hockey in the early 20th century, winning the Stanley Cup 11 times.

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Canadiens are the only existing NHL club to have formed prior to the league’s inception in 1917, and are the only team to have operated continuously throughout the league’s history. The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cup championships.

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Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Maple Leafs are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams, and have won the Stanley Cup 13 times (11 as the Maple Leafs, one as the Arenas and one as the St. Patricks).

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Ice Hockey in Canada

Hockey is Canada's official national winter sport and perhaps its greatest contribution to world sport. Canada is considered the birthplace of ice hockey, and Canadians generally regard the sport as their own.

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Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goaltender in the National Hockey League during the regular season. Created in 1927 in honour of Georges Vézina, who died in 1926 at the age of 39, the trophy was originally awarded to the goaltender with the best goals-against average. Beginning in 1946, it was presented to the main goalie for the team that had allowed the fewest goals in the regular season; in 1965, it was expanded to include all of the team’s goalies who had played in at least 25 games. Since 1982, the winner has been determined by a vote among all NHL general managers. Voting occurs at the end of the regular season and the trophy is handed out during the NHL Awards, following the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Hart Memorial Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy (originally the Hart Trophy) is awarded annually to the player determined to be the “most valuable” to his National Hockey League (NHL) team during the regular season. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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Calder Memorial Trophy

The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded annually “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” First presented in 1933, the trophy is named for Frank Calder, who was president of the NHL from 1917 to 1943. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season and is awarded after the Stanley Cup playoffs. Players who have won the trophy and gone on to stardom include Terry Sawchuk, Bobby Orr, Ken Dryden, Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux and Martin Brodeur.

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Art Ross Trophy

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).

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Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy

The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy was added to the NHL’s awards for individual excellence in 1999. It is awarded each year to the league’s top goal scorer during the regular season. The trophy honours former Montreal Canadiens superstar Maurice “Rocket” Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in a season and the first to reach the 500-goal plateau. The tribute to Richard was a gift from the Montreal Canadiens and was first proposed by team president Ronald Corey. The award’s first recipient was Teemu Selanne of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Alex Ovechkin has won the award nine times — more than any other player.

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Colored Hockey League

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men’s hockey league. It was organized by Black Baptists and Black intellectuals and was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1895. It disbanded in 1911 and reformed in 1925 but fell apart by the 1930s. Play was known to be fast, physical and innovative. The league was designed to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a hockey game between rival churches after the services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the league in January 2020.