How the Charter of Rights has made the NHL more Multicultural (Creative Response)

The Canadian Encyclopedia states; “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) included multiculturalism as an important part of the Canadian identity, and multiculturalism was entrenched in the Charter which specifically recognized it as a Canadian value.” As was defined in class on October 28th, Canada is seen as a “cultural mosaic” where people of all different ethnicities and races come together and, for the most part, live peacefully as neighbours. The Canadian Charter was certainly significant in the increase in overall Canadian diversity, and it has also appeared to have had an impact on Canada’s favourite sports league, the National Hockey League (NHL).

The difference in nationalities of NHL players before the Charter was created over 30 years ago was very minimal. In the 1981-’82 season, the year the Charter was introduced, the NHL consisted of 81.1% Canadians and 10.9% Americans. It is astonishing to me that only 30 years ago, merely 8% of the NHL consisted of non-North American athletes.

Fast forward 20 years to the 2001-’02 season which, according to, this was the most diverse year in the history of the NHL. Roughly 31% of the league were born outside of North America . As of the 2013-’14 season there is a slight increase in North American players in the NHL to around 75%, but these numbers still reflect quite a diverse league.

Of course there are factors to consider, that have led to this increasing amount of multiculturalism within the NHL. The expansion of the game of hockey across Europe and the accessibility to hockey programs across the world have also played significant roles in the growth of NHL diversity. However the increase in multiculturalism throughout Canada has arguably been the biggest factor, considering how much of an influence the country has on the league.

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