Welcome to Part Two of BrantTel’s coverage of Canada’s top 35 innovations– (if you haven't read Part 1, click here) today we’re going to be talking about some of Canada’s contributions to sports innovations! Whether it is the Olympics or our unbelievable supply of Pro Hockey players, Canada is known the world-over for excellence in sports. Today we’ll look at how Canadian influence and innovation has made the world of sports what it is today. First up, let’s look at how a Canadian made almost every sport more fair and fun:
Maybe one of the most underrated aspects of sports entertainment is Instant Replay. Think about it for a moment; Instant Replay is so much more than deciding if a baseball was a homerun or foul ball. Sure, Instant Replay is used now to change the entire tide of a game, but it is also used to send audiences into a frenzy with every major hit and penalty. Instant Replay has drawn spectators into the live speed of games in an unprecedented way and, you guessed it; we’ve got Canada to thank for that. In 1955, “Hockey Night in Canada” television producer George Retzlaff had the bright idea of utilizing kinescope technology to replay content just a few minutes after being filmed. Retzlaff's innovative thinking opened the wonderful door to what we know today as Instant Replay.
So much of basketball's success is attributed to the NBA, but like everything on this list, it wouldn’t be what it is without Canadian innovation. Though the first game of basketball took place in Springfield, Massachusetts, it the mind of a Canadian that conceived it. Dr. James Naismith was a Physical Educator working at a YMCA training school when he came up with the idea to modify a boyhood game he used to play to entertain a class of students. So, on December 21st, 1891 Naismith led students to play the first game of basketball, consisting of two peach baskets nailed ten feet in the air. Basketball spread like wildfire is now an Olympic sport and by many considered to be one of the most entertaining live sports. Fun fact: in Basketball's first year at the Olympics, Canada took home the silver medal. Not bad, eh?Lacrosse
If you did not know, Lacrosse is a sport that predates many western nations, including Canada. The game finds its roots in Native American culture going back centuries, played by tribes that lived in what is now modern Canada. It was named “lacrosse” by Jean de Brébeuf in the 1630’s after seeing it played in the St. Lawrence Valley.
We are unsure if Ice Hockey is Canada’s single greatest innovation, but it is the innovation for which we are probably most thanked (and grateful!). The first organized game took place at Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal in March of 1875. While hockey or stick and ball games have been referenced almost seven centuries back, it was Canadian innovation that thought to combine ice and hockey therein creating a combination that overshadows even peanut butter and jelly (it’s true). There is no question that Ice Hockey is through and through Canadian. If you don’t believe us, just do a bit of research into Olympic Golds. No surprise, Canada is the world’s leader with a whopping thirteen gold medals between men and women’s ice hockey.
It was 1958 when Joseph-Armand Bombardier designed what we know today as the snowmobile, and in 1959, Bombardier helped spread the idea by marketing and commercially producing this quick-moving snow vehicle for the public under the brand name “Ski-Doo.” Bombardier went on to receive patents in both Canada (1960) and the US (1962) and was the first to successfully market snowmobiles. Once more, thanks to Canadian innovation, a fun winter sport was born – and it is often used to save lives to boot.
Canada has taken the sports world by storm and given life to some of the most exhilarating and beloved games. Games like Ice Hockey and Basketball have given opportunities for people and Nations to come together across borders and differences (and what’s more Canadian than that?). The impact of Canadian innovation on the world is becoming more and more apparent as we dive into this list, and we have many more to come! Until then, strap on your skates and hit the share button on your way out to play.