Ice hockey is a big, big deal in Canada. Though it is one of two national games (the other being Lacrosse), hockey is dominant – the most popular spectator sport, as well as one that Canada is world-renowned for. From Olympic success to the crossover appeal of such ice hockey luminaries as Wayne Gretzky, the sport is a big part of Canadian culture and national identity.
The supporters across the country are fiercely loyal and partisan, closely following the sport whether they watch the games in the arenas, in the bars or at home. Many fans of hockey (and casual observers) like to place bets on the NHL and CHL games, and it has never been easier to do so. With the online gambling market booming, and with no sign of slowing down, let’s look at why betting on hockey is more popular than ever.
A Brief History
Hockey was first played in Canada way back in 1862. The iconic Stanley Cup was inaugurated in 1893. Canada dominated early international hockey, but by 1950 the Soviet Union had begun to emerge as a serious rival, culminating in the 1972 Summit Series, eight matches played in Canada and Moscow. The Canadians won that series, but the two nations would continue their closely matched rivalry for years to come. The formation of the National Hockey League (NHL) led to the emergence of superstar players and huge franchises within the sport. Ice Hockey is also played by millions of Canadians all across the nation, on the grassroots level. And of course, they place bets on the pro games.
It’s Easy to Bet
Part of the reason betting on hockey is so popular is because it has become so easy to do. Countless online websites and sportsbooks are available and are ranked, rated and listed on sites such as SuperLenny which act as a one-stop-shop for betting hockey fans. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets has led to dedicated apps being developed for the sole purpose of betting on hockey (and other sports). Mobile apps lead the way and have led to casual fans placing bets alongside seasoned supporters.
Most Canadian sportsbooks offer bonuses and prizes for new members who sign up. Some punters go from site to site, taking advantage of the special offers on each, whereas others find a site they like and place bets regularly, which also leads to loyalty bonuses. Many sites offer deposit matches or money-back guarantees, and for the regulars, weekly or monthly reload bonuses.
As with many other live sports, hockey betting offers a range of options and possibilities. You might gamble on the final score or the score of each period. Puck line, regulation time, winning margin, these are but a few of the wagers available for hockey fans in Canada. This variety adds a new dimension for those placing bets on the game. And while most fans gamble on the NHL, international games are available too.
For gamblers and regular spectators, part of hockey’s enduring appeal is just how unpredictable the games can be. Fast-paced and physical, players are prone to injury or being put in the sin bin for fouling or fighting. This means that star players may be sidelined, and that underdog victories are often in the script. As well as adding excitement to the game, it also means that punters have a chance of going home with a big win.
Ice hockey is more than a sport in Canada. A thrilling, intense game, where anything can happen, it hardly needs to be livened up, but placing bets can do just that.