Canadians currently represent 53.3 percent of all NHL players, which is a pretty incredible number. That’s over half the league. But which Canadian city has the most hometown heroes in the NHL?
Based on the 2011-12 rosters, we have a tie! The distinction is shared by both Toronto, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta!
That’s right. Fifty-four players that are currently active on NHL teams come from either Toronto or Edmonton. This tie proves that a city’s population or resources does not dictate its hockey success; talent does. Edmonton only has a third of the population of Toronto, yet both cities have spurred 27 players to the NHL.
Check out the slideshow to see where the city nearest you ranks.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and is home to the world’s largest amateur minor hockey league, the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL). So, it’s no wonder Toronto is able to produce an incredible amount of NHL players. The GTHL consists of 10,000 rep players, 30,000 house-leaguers, provides jurisdiction to its suburban leagues and just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Rick Nash, Jason Spezza and P.K. Subban have all played in the GTHL.
The City of Champions is still living up to the reputation it received from the great Oiler teams of the 1980s. Edmonton ranks so high in terms of producing NHLers thanks to a rich tradition of success at the pro level, plus 47 rinks in the surrounding area and some top-flight hockey schools. Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf and nearby Sherwood Park native Cam Ward headline the impressive list of Edmonton-born NHLers.
Like people living in Edmonton and Toronto, those in Quebec’s largest city love their hockey too. In Montreal, the Canadiens and their 24 Stanley Cups reign supreme. Since their two most recent championships in 1986 and 1993 with Patrick Roy leading the way, Montreal has been a breeding ground for top goaltenders. Olympians Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo are the most notable.
Winnipeg has always been a hockey town. Match that with the fact that the Winnipeg Jets are back in the NHL this season, and that notion has been reinforced tenfold. The city’s thriving minor hockey community is sure to produce the next Jonathan Toews, who was both the best forward in the Olympic games and the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2010.
Aside from the NHL’s Flames, Calgary has a multitude of teams that its residents can cheer for, including the Western Hockey League’s Hitmen to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Canucks and Mustangs. The city also has the AAA Buffaloes, a team that Dany Heatley once starred for.
Christmas skills camps like the Skills of Gold and the Coach Speciality Clinic should ensure that Regina will continue to churn out standout players like Vancouver Olympian Ryan Getzlaf and World Junior star-turned Oiler Jordan Eberle for years to come.
The Sask First Program—which was introduced by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association in 1988 to help administrators and coaches better serve minor hockey players—is the basis behind the development.
Nothing creates interest like hosting the world’s best, and Vancouver has done a lot of that as of late. From the 2006 World Junior Championships to the Olympics last February, Vancouver residents have had the chance to see Canada win big.
The country’s third-largest city currently boasts 2009 World Junior forward Evander Kane (now a winger for the Winnipeg Jets) and 2010 Olympic defenceman Brent Seabrook—from Tsawwassen—as NHL players.
The London Minor Hockey Association has eight arenas that house its minor league teams, including the John Labatt Centre, home to the popular London Knights, who begin round two of the 2012 OHL playoffs next week. NHL sniper Jeff Carter and rising star defenceman Drew Doughty, both of the Los Angeles Kings, are the two biggest names who hail from London.
Since Saskatoon falls under the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, the reasons for producing NHL players today are akin to those of its northern neighbours in Regina. Recently, Saskatoon has had an aptitude for developing bruising defencemen like Luke Schenn and Cory Sarich.
Mississauga is home to one of the most recognizable and beloved arenas in Ontario—the Hershey Centre, which happened to host the 2011 Mastercard Memorial Cup this past year. Their junior team, the Mississauga Majors, finished in second place, losing only to the Saint John Sea Dogs. John Tavares, Matthew Stajan and Brad Boyes all reign from Mississauga.
Here is a final tally of the top cities in Canada producing NHL talent.
A total of 140 active NHL players come from these 10 Canadian cities.
|Rank||City||Active NHL Players|