There have been a wide variety of sports in Vancouver since the city was founded. Team sports such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and Canadian football have extensive history in the area, while the city's relatively mild climate and geographical location facilitate a wide variety of other sports and recreational activities.
The Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, founded in 2001, play their home games at the Pacific Coliseum. The Giants hosted and won the 2007 Memorial Cup. The Vancouver area also has a number of hockey teams in the Tier II British Columbia Hockey League.
There are a number of amateur lacrosse teams in Greater Vancouver, competing under the auspices of the British Columbia Lacrosse Association. The New Westminster Salmonbellies have won the Mann Cup, Canada's senior lacrosse championship, a record 24 times. There are also a number of amateur teams in sports such as soccer, baseball, softball, Canadian football, field hockey, rugby, and Gaelic football.
Prominent annual amateur sports events in Vancouver include the BC High School Basketall Championship at the Agrodome, the High School Football Championship at BC Place, and the Canada Cup softball tournament in South Surrey. Also notable is the college rivalry between the UBC Thunderbirds and Simon Fraser Clan, who meet annually in the Shrum Bowl (football) and Buchanan Cup (basketball).
The British Columbia (BC) Lions have played in the Canadian Football League since 1954, and have won the Grey Cup five times, in 1964, 1985, 1994, 2000, and 2006. Vancouver has hosted the Grey Cup championship fourteen times, most recently in 2005. The Lions play their home games at BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver, having previously played at Empire Stadium in East Vancouver until 1983.
The Vancouver Canadians have played in the short season Class A minor Northwest League since 2000. The Canadians play their home games at Nat Bailey Stadium and are affiliated with the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. Minor league baseball has a long history in Vancouver, including an earlier incarnation of the Canadians and the Vancouver Mounties; both played in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.
The Vancouver Canucks have played in the National Hockey League since 1970, and have reached the Stanley Cup finals twice, in 1982 and 1994 (the Canucks' 1994 run was unfortunately marred by the 1994 Stanley Cup riot). The Canucks play their home games at GM Place, having previously played at the Pacific Coliseum until 1995. Previous incarnations of the Canucks played in the Pacific Coast Hockey League and Western Hockey League and won multiple championships. The Vancouver Blazers, a World Hockey Association team, attempted to compete with the Canucks between 1973 and 1975, but moved to Calgary thereafter. An early professional hockey team known as the Vancouver Millionaires won the Stanley Cup in 1915.
The top teams of the Whitecaps FC organization are the Whitecaps of the USL First Division and the Whitecaps Women of the W-League. In 2006, they achieved the unprecedented feat of winning both the USL and W-League championships. The Whitecaps play their home games at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, but are planning to build a new stadium on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver. Previous incarnations of the Whitecaps competed and won championships in the North American Soccer League and Canadian Soccer League.
Beginning in the 2011 season, the Whitecaps organization will be fielding a team in Major League Soccer. The to-be-named MLS team will play their home games in a renovated BC Place Stadium until the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium is built.
The expansion Vancouver Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association were one of the anchor tenants of GM Place upon its completion in 1995, but moved to Memphis, Tennessee after just six years of operations in Vancouver. Professional basketball has been rumored to return to Vancouver, most recently in the form of the Vancouver Dragons of the Continental Basketball Association, but has yet to establish itself. Vancouver has also had professional lacrosse (Vancouver Ravens, National Lacrosse League, 2001-2004) and roller hockey (Vancouver Voodoo, Roller Hockey International, 1993-1996) teams.
The 2010 Winter Olympics, will take place in 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are being organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC). The 2010 Winter Olympics will be the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia.
In the 2010 Winter Olympics, the mascots will be Miga, a mythical sea bear, part orca and part kermode bear, Quatchi, a sasquatch, and Sumi, an animal guardian spirit with the wings of the Thunderbird and legs of a black bear. Miga and Quatchi will be the mascots for the Olympics while Sumi will be the mascot for the Paralympics.
Past sports events in Vancouver include:
The Vancouver area has also hosted multiple BC Games amateur sports events. The Slam City Jam skateboarding championship was held in Vancouver from 1994 to 2005, and is set to return in 2008. Upcoming events include the 2008 World Ultimate and Guts Championship and the 2009 World Police and Fire Games.
Annual events include the Vancouver Marathon (42K/21K), the Vancouver Sun Run (a 10 km race), Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon and the Cloverdale Rodeo. Horse racing takes place regularly at Hastings Racecourse.
The Vancouver area has produced a number of notable athletes, including Joe Sakic, Cliff Ronning, and Paul Kariya (hockey), Larry Walker, Justin Morneau, and Jeff Francis (baseball), Bob Lenarduzzi, Domenic Mobilio, and Christine Sinclair (soccer), Lui Passaglia, Paris Jackson, and Adam Braidwood (football).
Major sports facilities in Vancouver are GM Place, BC Place, the Pacific Coliseum and the Agrodome. BC Place is also home to the BC Sports Hall of Fame, founded in 1966. There are many other facilities throughout the city and surrounding area, including 8 Rinks in Burnaby, the Canucks' main practice venue. A number of venues in and around Vancouver are under construction for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics.
The relatively mild climate of Vancouver, its extensive parkland, and close proximity to ocean, mountains, rivers and lakes make the area a popular destination for outdoor sports and recreation, including on and off-road cycling, skateboarding, hiking, alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, golf, and water sports. The nearby North Shore Mountains are home to three ski hills, Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour; each are within 20 to 30 minutes (driving time) of downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver's major daily newspapers, the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province, provide extensive coverage of local sports. CKNW was historically the main radio broadcaster of Vancouver's sports teams, but CKST, an all-sports station founded in 2001, broadcasts the Canucks, Lions, Whitecaps and Canadians as of 2007. On television, most events are carried by Sportsnet Pacific, TSN, CBC, or Shaw TV.