The sports system in Canada has a three-tier structure: sports organizations of national, provincial and municipal importance. These organizations are funded from the federal, provincial, and municipal budgets, respectively. For example, a typical urban pool is funded by a local municipality, and the Canadian National Swimming Team receives federal funding. Sports organizations in Canada actively promote a healthy lifestyle, develop special programs for the development of professional sports, family sports, sports for the disabled.
The Government of Canada supports special programs aimed at educating the younger generation in sports traditions, funds are allocated for the construction of sports facilities and the development of sports schools throughout the country.
Most Canadians are active fans and are proud of the national sport: hockey, basketball, football, figure skating, etc. Professional sports clubs are united in leagues that reproduce promising young people.
For example, the Canadian Ice Hockey League (CHL) is a tree structure that unites three major youth leagues in which hockey players of 16–20 years old play: the Hockey League of the Province of Ontario (OHL), the main junior league of the Province of Quebec (QMJHL) and the Western Hockey League (WHL). In total, the three leagues that make up the CHL account for 60 teams, and, despite the name, teams based in the United States are actively involved. Very many future NHL stars began their careers precisely in the leagues of the CHL. In the minds of both young hockey players and numerous fans, the championship of the youth leagues is prestigious and fascinating in itself, without reference to a possible hit on a higher level.
Canada’s most famous leagues:
- The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional sports organization that unites hockey teams of the USA and Canada. The league was formed in 1917 and united only 4 teams. After 89 years – in the 2006/2007 season – 30 teams from 29 cities in the USA and Canada compete each year for the main prize of the league – the Stanley Cup.
- Canadian Football League (CFL) – Canadian professional sports league, which consists of eight teams playing Canadian (different from the American number of players) football. Every year the best teams of the league play the Gray Cup.
- The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional sports organization in the United States (founded June 6, 1946), which unites 29 teams from 28 cities in the United States and Canada (for example, Toronto Raptors).
National sports teams have the right to enter into commercial agreements, receive funding from sponsors, set the amount of membership fees and pay salaries to players.
There are sports organizations that specialize in one kind of sport (for example, The Canadian Football League). There are sports organizations that have a wider focus, for example, the Association of Sports Coaches of Canada or the Canadian Sports Association of Disabled Persons in Wheelchairs.
National sports organizations are members of the International Sports Federation, which establishes and controls sports regulations. Canadian Olympic Association, reporting to the International Sports Committee