For the latest on Vancouver’s professional sports scene, contact Tickets Tonight (www.ticketstonight.ca) or visit their booth within the Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre. And don’t miss taking in an event at the newly-renovated BC Place. The city’s landmark stadium, it’s one of the world’s most technologically advanced sporting venues and it now has a sparkling new retractable roof.
The Canadian love of hockey has supported the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks (www.canucks.com) franchise since the mid-70s. Debate over the team, its management, staff, players and the team’s variable fortunes reigns hot and heavy in the media and on the streets every season. In the spring of 1995, the Canucks, who play at Rogers Arena, captured the imagination of the entire province, when they came within a goal of winning the coveted Stanley Cup – named after the fella who also gave his moniker to the city’s favourite park. The team came close to the big prize again in 2011.
Those who can’t get tickets to a Canucks game should consider checking out the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants (www.vancouvergiants.com), who play at the Pacific Coliseum in East Vancouver. Popular with visitors and families, games are great value – and you’ll be close to the action just a few feet from the ice.
The BC Lions (www.bclions.com), who play in the newly refurbished BC Place Stadium, were the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup champions in 2011. The season runs from June to November and the game – which many argue is more exciting than American Football – is played with three downs and takes place on a longer and wider field than US teams use. Tickets are much easier to come by than Canucks games and there’s always a great family-friendly atmosphere.
The world’s most popular game, soccer, is played professionally in the city by the Vancouver Whitecaps (www.whitecapsfc.com), who stepped up to North America’s Major League Soccer franchise in 2011, moving their games to BC Place Stadium in the process.
Strike, you’re out! Baseball is a local tradition thanks to the Vancouver Canadians (www.canadiansbaseball.com), the city's short-season, single-A team. Enjoy a spirited Canadians game from June through September at historic Nat Bailey Stadium – it’s a favourite way for Vancouverites to spend a lazy summer afternoon.
It’s hard to think of a sport that isn’t pursued by Vancouverites. The city’s lesser-known but ardently followed “unusual sports” include cricket and bowling (both practiced in Stanley Park); rugby, with teams across the region operating under the eye of BC Rugby (www.bcrugby.com); and roller derby, an entertaining all-women’s league that’s risen to prominence in Vancouver in recent years – see www.terminalcityrollergirls.com for information. And if you want to dive into one of the most popular winter sports among Canadians, check out curling via the Vancouver Curling Club (www.vancouvercurlingclub.com).
Check out the city’s alternative sports scene for visitors, including visits to some of the above and interviewing participants – and spectators – along the way.