Has Basketball Replaced Ice Hockey as Number One Sport in Toronto?

The Maple Leafs have been the pride of Toronto since 1917. In the over 105-year long history, the franchise has won 13 Stanley cups and been home to legendary names such as Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler and Borje Salming. The trophies and the players have made sure Toronto often is referred to as the “Mecca of hockey”.

A City Filled with Hockey

When in Toronto, it’s difficult to miss the importance of hockey. For example, residents and tourists can visit the Hockey Hall of Fame to look at collections from the long history of the sport.

The large hockey interest is even shown in the gambling in the city. The town has a few land-based casinos, but the online versions are the most visited. One of the reasons for this might be the large number of hockey-themed slots that can be found here, as well as the accessibility.

Factors such as registration and payments at online casinos have never been easier. But that’s not the case all the time. For example, players will have to learn about royal vegas online casino withdrawal before they register on the site, to make sure it offers their payment method of choice.

However, the hockey interest in Toronto has gotten itself a turn in recent years. Maple Leafs has not won a Stanley cup since 1967. In fact, the team haven’t won a playoff round since they beat Ottawa Senators in 2004. This unsatisfying record is one of the reasons hockey might not be the obvious number one sport in the city anymore.

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The Raptors Shocking Championship Win

In 1995, the NBA chose to expand to Canada by introducing the Toronto Raptors to the league. However, basketball was immediately placed in the shadow of hockey. The Raptors had a tough time competing with the Maple Leafs, until just recently.

In the season of 2018-19, the Raptors were far from favorites to win the championship. Therefore, the basketball fans had themselves a major gasp when the Raptors managed to beat the Golden State Warriors in the finals. Canada had won its first NBA championship, and it didn’t pass unseen by the residents.

After the shocking win, more and more Toronto residents and Canadians were talking about basketball and reading the basketball headlines in the sports news. During the following season, the Raptors had the third highest average attendance in the entire league. Now that people had opened their eyes to basketball, the sport just kept growing.

Three Reasons Basketball is Becoming More Popular Than Hockey

The success of the Raptors and the misfortune for the Maple Leafs are two of the reasons the interest in basketball is surging in Toronto, and in Canada in general. However, it’s most likely not the only ones.

Not only are there more people watching the games, but lots of kids also choose to play basketball instead of hockey. An article on Medium.com describes some potential reasons for the shift.

  • Costs– Hockey players need lots of equipment, and it’s quite expensive. In addition to this, sticks and such most often break multiple times during a season. In many aspects, basketball Is a much cheaper sport to play.
  • Injuries – The physicality of hockey has its downsides. According to the article at Medium.com, 3,000 hockey-playing kids were treated for head injuries between 2014 and 2015. In basketball, these sorts of injuries are much rarer.
  • Representation– Hockey is overrepresented by white players. In basketball, a whole different representation can be seen. Because of this, the sport might seem more welcoming for many people.

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