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How Basketball Overtook Hockey as the Most Popular Youth Sport in Canada

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Old
07-14-2013, 07:36 AM
  #51
Melrose Munch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swarez99 View Post
I grew up in Oakville and there were a bunch of different basketball leagues outside of school, bunch of my friends played in them. I live in Mississauga now and every rec center has one, hersey center has more people in there soccer and basketball leagues than there hockey ones. I go to lifetime fitness, and they have 4 courts of leagues that are always full and have big waiting lists, my company rents a gym once a week for pick up games (does it for hockey too). My church used to rent ice time for teens, but cancelled it for soccer because could no longer get enough people out for hockey.

My younger brother who is 16 and his friends are just as into Soccer and basketball as they are into hockey, im in my mid 20's and our generation didn't really care about basketball except for those few years Vince Carter was actually trying.

Things change, preferences chance just part of life. People don't really care that football is growing in this country or soccer, but when hockey pucks here basketball is growing (especially in Toronto) they get all defensive. Hockey is not dying, its just people now like more than one sport.
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Originally Posted by Soundwave View Post
I don't really mind this to be honest. As much as I love hockey, I do kinda bristle at the notion that Canada is only good at hockey and basically mediocre at most other sports.

It was nice when Donovan Bailey was having all his success, and now it's cool that a Canadian was taken no.1 in the NBA draft and that Wiggins kid from Canada looks like he will be no.1 in next year's draft. So we could be looking at two consecutive years where a Canadian is taken no.1 in the NBA draft ... that's pretty significant IMO for a country that has a population of about 30 million people.

And yes, I mentioned this in another thread, but among the younger set, basketball is definitely the no.2 sport IMO, above the CFL or Blue Jays/MLB.

They know more about LeBron/Kobe/etc. than they do about any CFL player.

Hockey is so expensive and very time consuming too, you don't have to just learn hockey as a sport, kids have to then do things like power skating and learning the skating side of the game is almost like trying to learn two sports at once. So sure, I think basketball and soccer are great to get into for kids.

If the Raptors actually land that Wiggins kid and could actually be a decent franchise (lol), that would help grow the popularity of the sport tremendously too.

Hockey will always be Canada's sport, but there's nothing wrong with Canada being good at something else too or kids having an alternative to such an expensive sport as hockey. Basketball is part of Canada's heritage anyway, a Canadian invented it after all.
I agree.

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Originally Posted by TheMoreYouKnow View Post
I remember in the 90s everyone said basketball was growing and growing. To be honest I get the sense basketball was more popular then than it is now. Meanwhile the most relevant story of the past two decades in sports has been the rise of the NFL to the monster behemoth among sports leagues which few saw coming in the late 80s/early 90s. And that as a sport watched religiously by masses who've never played a down of the sport competitively.

Participation is important for the production of talent primarily, but there I don't feel Canada should feel too threatened because hockey is super expensive everywhere else too and it's feeling the competition of soccer far more acutely in Europe. The one country benefiting here is the US, a country that probably has more wealthy parents keen to make a financial and personal effort to support their kids playing a sport than any other country on Earth. But then Canada still has the cultural advantage that also yields a "know how" advantage. Participation levels don't necessarily translate to great elite talent if the support infrastructure isn't at a high enough level throughout the country (see, soccer in the US where it's been a prominent youth sport for decades but little elite talent if any filters through to the pros).
I think the problem is you can play football in high school, even in Canada. Hockey has to be separate. FWIW Basketball had the second largest revenue of the big 4 in 1996 and now is third.
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Originally Posted by t0mf00lery View Post
Not sure where you are located, but here in Barrie, Ontario there is tonnes of road hockey played. I see road hockey nets in about every other driveway in my neighbourhood and I see kids outside playing road hockey daily.
I lived in Hamilton and now Toronto. I don't see it anymore.

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07-14-2013, 02:43 PM
  #52
epo
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The age range chosen for youths just happens to correspond with the only ages where anyone plays basketball here.

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07-14-2013, 07:18 PM
  #53
razor ray
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On a side note to this Canada has not lost a game at the University Games:

http://www.eurobasket.com/World-Univ...basketball.asp

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07-14-2013, 07:42 PM
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Ok, well, no question BB's popular, however, its also mandatory, part of the phys-ed curriculum whereas hockey, unless a private school simply is not. Im sorry, but I just dont buy it, the originally linked article, premise of this thread.

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07-14-2013, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by NewOilRising View Post
Not a real shock.

Hockey is an upper clash, rich kid sport now. Sports like basketball and soccer don't have nearly the cost.
Hockey is the next best thing to polo. You need money, and lots of it, to play.

I grew up playing hockey almost every day on an outdoor rink at a community club in Brandon, Manitoba. Very little cost. High level of participation. Lots of fresh air and exercise.

My wife and I gave up on hockey raising four sons and three daughters in Southern Ontario. Downhill skiing is less expensive, better exercise and more fun. Hockey priced itself out of our market.

I still love to watch hockey, but for outdoor recreation for our family it's skiing all the way.

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07-14-2013, 09:47 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
All those forms of hockey are different sports. And no one plays street hockey any more
There are literally kids in my cul-de-sac playing right now as I'm typing. Down the street there are teens playing on the tennis court if I had to guess, they're usually there. There'll also be one more game usually going by the time I get to the end of the street, where my road narrows.

Not sure about where you are, but in Surrey BC kids are definitely still playing street hockey

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07-14-2013, 09:47 PM
  #57
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Downhill skiing is less expensive, better exercise and more fun. Hockey priced itself out of our market.
And isnt that just crazy. In the 50's, through the 60's & 70's, Downhill Skiing one of the most expensive past times & hobbies in Canada, the US. Between the costs to get there & back, stay for the weekend or whatever, ski's, boots, bindings, poles (all needing maintenance & tuning, upgrades annually), the right gloves & clothing, goggles, lessons, let alone lift tickets, pay for everything lunches & drinks, a sport for the upper middle classes. You put your kid into a private club, racing, Coaching, Camps, Travel etc etc etc outta site. Memberships in Ontario at places like Osler, Craigleath or wherever easily well into the 5 or 6 figures. Kissing Bridge in New York, anywhere in the Northeast, California, Oregon or WA State beyond pricey for a family of limited means to even begin to entertain.

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07-14-2013, 09:50 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
And isnt that just crazy. In the 50's, through the 60's & 70's, Downhill Skiing one of the most expensive past times & hobbies in Canada, the US. Between the costs to get there & back, stay for the weekend or whatever, ski's, boots, bindings, poles (all needing maintenance & tuning, upgrades annually), the right gloves & clothing, goggles, lessons, let alone lift tickets, pay for everything lunches & drinks, a sport for the upper middle classes. You get put your kid into a private club, racing, Coaching, Camps, Travel etc etc etc outta site. Memberships in Ontario at places like Osler, Craigleath or wherever easily well into the 5 or 6 figures. Kissing Bridge in New York, anywhere in the Northeast, California, Oregon or WA State beyond pricey for a family of limited means to even begin to entertain.
I love snowboarding but I've never found it to be cheap or convenient. None of my friends or I have a car that can drive in the snow so we have to take the bus up. Gear is nice and easy now that I've stopped growing but the boots were a pain growing up. The board generally lasted for awhile.

Plus when you get there the lodge food is always so ridiculously expensive and if the mountains are packed it's not as much fun. Definitely a once-in-awhile thing for me!

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07-14-2013, 09:52 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by t0mf00lery View Post
Not sure where you are located, but here in Barrie, Ontario there is tonnes of road hockey played. I see road hockey nets in about every other driveway in my neighbourhood and I see kids outside playing road hockey daily.
Ditto.

There's a game around the corner from my house. It never seems to end.

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07-14-2013, 10:01 PM
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I disagree (somewhat) about less costs for families. I used to play with a stick, puck and skates and that's it. My gloves were my regular winter gloves, and my toque was my helmet. It wasn't as costly as trying to find an indoor basketball court once a week. Especially when you consider the winters seem like they're 7 months long.


I would argue that basketball has less infrastructure involved. Communities only have to pave a little area and put a hoop on a pole to provide recreation. Very few public schools (if any) in Canada has an indoor or outdoor rink, and not every community rec centre has an outdoor rink. But I bet nearly everyone can afford a basketball court.

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07-14-2013, 10:03 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
And isnt that just crazy. In the 50's, through the 60's & 70's, Downhill Skiing one of the most expensive past times & hobbies in Canada, the US. Between the costs to get there & back, stay for the weekend or whatever, ski's, boots, bindings, poles (all needing maintenance & tuning, upgrades annually), the right gloves & clothing, goggles, lessons, let alone lift tickets, pay for everything lunches & drinks, a sport for the upper middle classes. You put your kid into a private club, racing, Coaching, Camps, Travel etc etc etc outta site. Memberships in Ontario at places like Osler, Craigleath or wherever easily well into the 5 or 6 figures. Kissing Bridge in New York, anywhere in the Northeast, California, Oregon or WA State beyond pricey for a family of limited means to even begin to entertain.

I'm amazed too, but where I live that's the score.

When I was a kid growing up on the Prairies I never dreamed of downhill skiing, it was so out of reach.

Now there are smaller, family ski hills like the one ten minutes from our home that are very reasonable. Seasons pass for $149 until July 31. Can't beat it. One of my sons worked as a lift captain. Our youngest daughter is some kind of ski pro in the ski school. Depending on the year, it almost pays for itself.

The other thing is we all go skiing together, or as few or as many who want to go.I never enjoyed filling the other kids with hot chocolate waiting around the arena while one of seven kids had a game or a practice.

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07-14-2013, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkGio View Post
I disagree (somewhat) about less costs for families. I used to play with a stick, puck and skates and that's it. My gloves were my regular winter gloves, and my toque was my helmet. It wasn't as costly as trying to find an indoor basketball court once a week. Especially when you consider the winters seem like they're 7 months long.


I would argue that basketball has less infrastructure involved. Communities only have to pave a little area and put a hoop on a pole to provide recreation. Very few public schools (if any) in Canada has an indoor or outdoor rink, and not every community rec centre has an outdoor rink. But I bet nearly everyone can afford a basketball court.
That was my experience growing up too, but times have changed.

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07-14-2013, 10:26 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Mork View Post
That was my experience growing up too, but times have changed.
I could take my skates and stick to a nearby rink one winter evening and play. They'll be mostly kids there so it would be weird, lol, but I still could play pretty cheap. Still cheaper than basketball in the winter. Some volunteer would take care of the rink while the nets and boards are covered by the community.

I've seen some rinks so popular you could play pick up all days Saturdays.

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07-14-2013, 10:28 PM
  #64
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The other thing is we all go skiing together, or as few or as many who want to go.I never enjoyed filling the other kids with hot chocolate waiting around the arena while one of seven kids had a game or a practice.
Some of the smaller areas certainly, the old Oshawa Ski Club between Oshawa & Garden Hill, Chicopee, Mansfield & Devils Elbow, others, you live in the area, Seasons Passes, fun times, social situation for the kids & parents alike. Kids soon grow bored with the lack of vertical & challenge, Mom & Dad expected to cough up. Camp on the Hortsman Glacier at Whistler. Trips to Quebec, Collingwood. How do they get there if you dont pay for it? Its pricey Mork. Know all about it.

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07-14-2013, 10:50 PM
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Americanization is part of this, too, and shouldn't be brushed under the rug. I mean, Canada's always been the way it is wrt American culture but as more and more outlets have opened up over the past 30 years, American pastimes have come to dominate in new ways.

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07-14-2013, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post

I lived in Hamilton and now Toronto. I don't see it anymore.
Yeah, I used to live in Mississauga and I didn't see street hockey nearly as much. When I moved to Barrie that all changed. There is street hockey everywhere here. Toronto (the GTA) is a different animal.

However, Toronto does have a lot of managed outdoor rinks with Zambonis and everything. I play on the one at Wallace Emerson (Dufferin and Dupont) and at Earlscourt (St Clair and Landsdowne) every winter. They are both beautiful outdoor rinks (Toronto has 53 outdoor rinks that are managed by the city) and they are always full of people playing hockey from the end of November to early March.

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07-15-2013, 12:28 AM
  #67
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being an immigrant growing up with immigrants i am the only one in my close group of friends who is a hockey fan, and were from Ottawa, I actaully like it , makes me feel uniques in a way

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07-15-2013, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Mork View Post
That was my experience growing up too, but times have changed.
So what happened? It used to be that the best Canadian players came out of poor backgrounds learning and playing the game with whatever hand-me-down equipment was available. At what point did hockey cease to be a sport that cut across all socio-economic lines and became a upper-middle-class/rich kid sport? And isn't this the 5,000 pound elephant in the room when people point out that Canada doesn't seem to produce as many elite players as it used to?

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07-15-2013, 03:20 AM
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As lame as I find the "sport" basketball to be it makes total sense where you consider how expense it is to play organized hockey.

Hell grab a ball and you can play basketball, soccer (or football as they call it over here) etc. anywhere, it's a big reason where these sports have such a wide audience.
I'm been a ice hockey goalie for years and have spent thousands on equipment.
The money put out on a pair of pads alone would likely be more than all the expenses for a kid to play soccer or basketball from 12 to 17 combined.

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07-15-2013, 03:57 AM
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So what happened? It used to be that the best Canadian players came out of poor backgrounds learning and playing the game with whatever hand-me-down equipment was available. At what point did hockey cease to be a sport that cut across all socio-economic lines and became a upper-middle-class/rich kid sport? And isn't this the 5,000 pound elephant in the room when people point out that Canada doesn't seem to produce as many elite players as it used to?
Hockey development in Canada sorta has become a very methodical thing, kinda sadly I think.

Kids are thrown into power skating classes at a young age, there's hockey school in the summer, then right back to playing again in the fall. Power skating lessons, hockey school/camp, etc. etc. isn't free either (in most places).

And with a growing kid, he or she is going to outgrow their equipment pretty quickly.

I think to kids who only play maybe during the season or even only play shiny, they feel like they can't compete against kids who are basically being trained year round.

I still think Canada produces plenty of elite players, the best in the world overall IMO, however I do kinda worry that the childhood of some these kids is being push out a little bit in an obsessive manner.

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07-15-2013, 05:11 AM
  #71
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Originally Posted by MarkGio View Post
I could take my skates and stick to a nearby rink one winter evening and play. They'll be mostly kids there so it would be weird, lol, but I still could play pretty cheap. Still cheaper than basketball in the winter. Some volunteer would take care of the rink while the nets and boards are covered by the community.

I've seen some rinks so popular you could play pick up all days Saturdays.
The difference then and now is this:

As a kid in Brandon there was organized outdoor hockey at minimal cost. If it cost as much as $5 per season that would have been a big deal in our household, and I don't think there was any charge at all. No equipment required except skates and a stick. Helmet recommended. Anything else, so much the better. No tryouts: every kid played, the better players a little more than the others, but not extremely so. Volunteer coaching staff of two or three dad's per team. Practice outdoors under the lights for an hour one evening per week. One game every Saturday at our rink or theirs. If the game was across town the whole team would pile in a few cars of coaches and parents who would bring us there and back, and stand in the snowbank beside the boards to watch us play. Changed our skates inside the community club, which in or case was a 600 sq ft shack lined with wooden benches on the walls, some kind of oil stove, and a small office for what was once the stationmaster.

Now there are outdoor drinks a plenty with no organized youth hockey. The kids can go outdoors and skate to their hearts content, and some do, but games of hockey are pickup of two or three per side that in no way resemble an actual game with any rules of play or test of a kids athletic ability. It's just a scrum with few kids of similar size and age. I don't think anyone could develop much of a love or appreciation for the game that way.


Beyond that now you're into house league at the local arena which is expensive and time consuming to say the least. Many people just can't afford the time and money.


Last edited by Mork: 07-15-2013 at 05:17 AM.
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07-15-2013, 08:59 AM
  #72
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Originally Posted by MarkGio View Post
I could take my skates and stick to a nearby rink one winter evening and play. They'll be mostly kids there so it would be weird, lol, but I still could play pretty cheap. Still cheaper than basketball in the winter. Some volunteer would take care of the rink while the nets and boards are covered by the community.

I've seen some rinks so popular you could play pick up all days Saturdays.
I'm glad its still like this in Winnipeg. Even as a 28 year old if I'm extremely bored, I go to a local rink with my goalie equipment. Everyone from kids/teens/young adults love it when I show up randomly too to play in net. I feel bad for players playing in warm climates that will never experience a Saturday afternoon or weekday night on the ice for hours.

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07-15-2013, 09:18 AM
  #73
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Nope. Still looks rather white.

NOTE: This is a picture of the Canadian Men's University Team

Basketball growing owes more to the people running the sport getting their act together. The school system is the current main setup, and they've expanded to bring smaller schools into the program.

Local leagues are starting up and they are certain looking for those willing to help.
Most of the better Canadians end up going to America to play. Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson, now Andrew Wiggins this year. Just to count the African Americans. And there are a ton more that have entered the collegiate ranks like Junior Cadougan, Khem Birch, Melvin Ejim.

Others like Kelly Olynyk and Kevin Pangos also made the trip south among white players.

But it's just worth mentioning the Canadian Men's University team probably actually isn't representative of the Canadian basketball talent pool.

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07-15-2013, 09:37 AM
  #74
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Basketball in my area in Toronto is more prevalent than road hockey now. Just looking down the neighbourhood streets every 3rd house seems to have a hoop.

I wouldn't consider Basketball "American" as a Canadian invented it. Also if you look at the early history of Basketball Canada was a large part of the international scene. We have always had basketball in this country. Whether or not we are better than other countries is a different argument.

Basketball, a long with most other sports has been swallowed by Hockey. A lot of it has to do with the Sports media in this country just being ignorant towards most sports. The "Sports" media in Canada for decades have been novice at best when it comes to knowledge of sports... other than hockey.

Now it has gotten better as younger people are coming in and have been exposed to more than just hockey.

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07-15-2013, 06:05 PM
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I can see this. Basketball seems to be cheaper and easier to play than hockey.

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