Who is Canada’s Team? We asked Canadians that and more

See how Canadians ranked their top Canadian hockey teams.

Would you unite behind a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup? Is the CFL an integral part of our sporting identity? Do you know how to skate backwards?

We asked over 1,500 Canadians from all regions and generations a series of burning sports questions. Here’s what they told us.

1. Do you know how to skate backwards?
Fifty-one per cent of Canadians know how to skate backwards. Ability to skate backwards is lowest among immigrants (19 per cent), first-generation Canadians (41 per cent), millennials (43 per cent) and British Columbians (43 per cent).

2. Would you cheer for a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, even if it’s not the team you typically cheer for?
Seventy-six per cent of Canadians would cheer for a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, even if it’s not the team they usually cheer for. This number is highest in Ontario, with 81 per cent willing to cheer for a different Canadian team, and lowest in Quebec, where only 68 per cent would be likely to do so.

This post is part of The Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country.

3. Which is your favourite Canadian hockey team?
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are neck in neck on this one, with 27 per cent of respondents preferring the Leafs, and 26 per cent preferring the Canadiens. Provincial preferences tend to align pretty heavily with the home teams. For those provinces without an NHL team, the fandom tends to move to the nearest neighbour: Saskatchewanians cheer for the Jets (36 per cent) and Atlantic Canadians cheer for the Habs (35 per cent). Immigrants tend to cheer for the Maple Leafs (31 per cent).

4. Have you ever built a backyard rink?
Seventy per cent of Canadians have never built a backyard rink. Boomers (32 per cent) and Atlantic Canadians (38 per cent) are most likely to have built one.

5. What sport did you watch most often with your parents or grandparents growing up?
Forty-eight per cent of Canadians grew up watching, you guessed it, hockey. The next most popular sport people watched growing up? Perhaps more difficult to guess: figure skating, at 10 per cent.

6. What sport do you watch most often with your kids or friends today?
Canadians are most likely to sit down with family or friends to watch hockey (40 per cent) or football (10 per cent). Hockey is most popular across all of the provinces, except Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where it is second to football.

7. Do you think the CFL is an integral part of Canada’s sporting identity?
Most Canadians (63 per cent) believe that the CFL is integral to Canada’s sporting identity. Millennials, however, aren’t so sure: 51 per cent believe it’s not essential.

8. If your child could excel in one sport, which would you choose?
Canadians want their kids to excel in hockey (19 per cent) and soccer (15 per cent). Millennials and immigrants would prefer their kids to excel in soccer (27 per cent, 31 per cent), and Atlantic Canadians prefer swimming (19 per cent) and golf (16 per cent).

9. Would you support or oppose another NHL team coming to a community close to where you live?
Fifty-six per cent of Canadians would support another NHL team coming to a community close to where they live. Support for a new team is highest in Atlantic Canada (62 per cent) and is much higher among men than women (64 per cent vs. 48 per cent).

10. Would you support or oppose that team coming to a community near where you live if taxpayer’s money was needed to get that team?
Of the respondents who supported the idea of another NHL team coming to their community, there was stark division as to whether or not they’d want their tax dollars spent on bringing a new NHL team to their region: 46 per cent would support this kind of spending, while 43 per cent would not. Support is highest in the Atlantic provinces, where 57 per cent would approve governmental NHL spending, and lowest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where only 39 per cent would support this.

11. Does the federal government spend too much, too little, or about the right amount on supporting Canadian athletes training for the Olympics?
Canadians think Olympic training funding is just right, with 38 per cent believing that Canada spends the right amount. Boomers (40 per cent) and immigrants (45 per cent) are most likely to believe that the government needs to dip deeper into its coffers to fund our Olympians.

12. Who is the best athlete of the 21st century?
Twenty-five per cent of Canadians believe that Sidney Crosby is the best athlete of the 21st century. Usain Bolt came in second with 16 per cent of the vote. Ontarians and immigrants prefer Bolt over Sid.