It comes as no surprise that hockey is popular in Nova Scotia. In fact, hockey is an official national sport in the country and favorite with many Canadians. So Nova Scotia makes no exception. The first skates in Canada were patented in 1866 by a company based in Nova Scotia and were fitted with metal clamps and rounded blades. In fact, James Creighton from Halifax was the one to bring hockey in Quebec in 1872. Today, there are amateur, junior, minor professional, and semi-professional leagues in Nova Scotia.
Amateur and Semi-Professional
There are several university teams, some of which playing in University Cups. Among them are St. Francis Xavier X-Men, Saint Mary's Huskies, and Acadia Axemen. The Truro Bearcats are also based in Nova Scotia and are one of the twelve teams from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League. The player roster includes players such as Denver Lynds, Dylan Burton, Ryan Porter, Riley Baggs, and Sam Jeffrey.
Junior Hockey Leagues
Nova Scotia has teams in four junior leagues and namely, Junior C, Junior B, Maritime Junior A, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. There are several teams in Junior C, among which Spryfield Attack, Metro Jaguars, and Avon River Rats. Spryfield Attack takes pride in having players such as Cole Welter, Tyler Williams, Spencer Martell, and Tyler Leblanc.
American Hockey League
Four teams made it to the American Hockey League – the Halifax Citadels, Nova Scotia Oilers, Nova Scotia Voyageurs (all of which based in Halifax), and Cape Breton Oilers (based in Sidney). The Halifax Citadels, for example, played in the League for 6 years (from 1988 to 1993). The Nova Scotia Oilers played in the League for 4 years, from 1984 to 1988 and had two couches – Ron Low and Larry Kish. Players on the roster included names such as Jeff Beukeboom, Ken Berry, Marco Baron, and Rene Badeau.
Several championships take place, including the University Cup, Don Johnson Cup, Royal Bank Cup, Memorial Cup, and others. The Royal Bank Cup is a championship that includes 10 leagues and 129 teams. This is an annual competition taking place since 1996. Champions include teams such as the Pembroke Lumber Kings (2011), Vernon Vipers (1996, 1999, 2009, and 2010), Aurora Tigers (2004 and 2007), Camrose Kodiaks (2001), and others. The championship takes place in different locations such as Camrose, Alberta, Brampton, Ontario, Flin Flon, Manitoba, and elsewhere across Canada.
The University Cup is also a national championship where university teams participate and play one against another. The championship takes place across Canada, in cities such as Edmonton, Alberta, Sudbury, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Three teams from Nova Scotia won the championship over the years - the Saint Mary's Huskies in 2010, St. Francis Xavier X-Men in 2004, and Acadia Axemen in 1993 and 1996.
The Fred Page Cup is yet another championship held across Canada – in Ottawa, Brockville, Pembroke, Charlottetown, and elsewhere. This championship is organized by the Canadian Junior Hockey League since 1995. The winner is awarded an ice hockey trophy, the first of which was donated by Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Québe, called the Quebec Provincial Junior Hockey League at that time. Champions from Nova Scotia include teams such as the Pictou County Crushers in 2008, the Halifax Oland Exports in 2002, and the Truro Bearcats in 2013. Teams from Nova Scotia participate in other championships as well, for example, the Maritime-Hockey North Championship, the Allan Cup, the President's Cup, and the Calder Cup.