What Percentage of NHL Players are Canadian?

In the 1970s, practically all of the NHL’s players were Canadian, but that’s no longer the case! Canada with 395 players (43.0 percent), as one might imagine, still reigns dominant in the NHL. 

So, what percentage of NHL players are Canadian? During the 2022-23 NHL season, 395 Canadian-born players, or 42.5% of all players were in the league. However, other countries numbers and talent have made a difference to Canadian players in the National Hockey League.

Canada has 7 NHL teams however the title of being the most Canadian NHL team will not really go to any of them. 

Percentage of Canadians in the NHL over the decades

Taking a look at the number of Canadians who have played in the National Hockey League over time is a good place to begin. The N.H.L. was founded in 1917, and nearly all players were born in Canada. 


In Canada, where most clubs, leagues, and players originated, hockey quickly became popular. Some American clubs would spread into the Northeastern United States, although players from Canada dominated them.

YearPercentage of Canadian Players
1950sOver 90%
1960sOver 90%

The decade of the 1990s marked Russia’s long-awaited entry into the league. There was a significant influx of talent from outside of Canada, but the overall talent level was exceptionally high. One of the most unmistakable signs was when the National Hockey League had its entry draught and no longer exclusively selected Canadian players for the first overall pick but instead selected players from around the world.

According to recent statistics, the percentage of players in the United States has increased from 2.3 percent in the 1970s to 28.6 percent in 2022.

Russia’s Ice Hockey Revolution

During the 1964 Olympics, the Soviet Union was crowned Olympic champions and Olympic gold medalists. In 1972, they came close to defeating the founding fathers (Canada) in an eight-game series, and they go on to prove that they are a formidable team with excellent players.

Borje Salming

He paved the way for future generations of European and Swedish all-stars by making an impact in the NHL. This demonstrated to the NHL that talent could be nurtured in other places aside from Canada.

A Look at the Rise of American Ice Hockey

The Miracle on the Ice from 1980 is still fresh in our minds. For this to be a possibility, was only made possible by players who grew up and evolved into capable competitors by the early 1970s. Modano, Tkachuk, and Roenick were just some of the American hockey players who were inspired by the game.

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Why are there fewer Canadians as a percentage playing in the league?

It is vital to highlight that the caliber of Canadian players has not decreased. The caliber of hockey players that Canada continues to develop is still relatively high. Canada is still able to produce world-class athletes.

They’ve inspired Canada’s development model and applied it to their own. However, they have become so adept at what they do that the Canadian system can now learn from them. In addition, Canada has a comparatively tiny population. Canada is home to the same amount of people as the state of California, which is about 35 million people.


All of Europe’s countries are the same in this regard. Many young players in North, Central, and Eastern Europe, if given the proper training, have a realistic chance of making it to the National Hockey League. As a result, more children play hockey in such communities, and improved development occurs.

Many Non-White NHL Players 

The percentage of Canadians in the league dropped from 75 percent in the 1980s to around 50 percent today. A whopping 93% of the N.H.L.’s players identify as white, with the remaining 7% representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds. In total, there are 32 players of African-American descent in the league at this time.

Games of the NHL Take Place in Canada

The National Hockey League held the entirety of the 2022 postseason in Canada, with quarantine bubbles set up in both Toronto and Edmonton. The seven teams that comprised the North Division played their games during the regular season of 2021-2022 without any spectators present.

What are other countries doing to catch up to Canada?

A lack of players and a lack of excellent development programs are the main reasons for this disparity. The hockey training program in place in the United States is world-class. The new crop of youthful American superstars is unmatched. Auston Matthews, for example, was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The European leagues are also development centers. Finland’s goaltenders and Sweden’s defenders have earned them a reputation as two of the best in the world. As of today, Germany is beginning to develop top-tier players like Leon Draisaitl and Tim Stutzle.

The number of youth development leagues in Europe and the United States has expanded dramatically, and the quality of coaching at each level has improved.

Canada’s Favorite Hockey Team

Although Montreal Canadians fans despise it, Toronto Maple Leafs are unquestionably the most popular team in the National Hockey League. To begin, their fan base is larger because they are one of the Original Six teams, and they are also a Canadian team that generates more revenue and attracts more fans than most American clubs.

Most Hockey Players From Canada

The primary factor is the numbers game. There are numerous excellent junior hockey programs available in Ontario, the country’s most populous province, which allows the best players to hone their skills. Ontario’s most outstanding junior programs are the Toronto Marlboros, Toronto Jr.

What is the talent level of the Canadians in the NHL?

Let’s not forget that Canada is a great country. They’re still churning out incredible hockey players. Only one country, Canada, can claim to have produced superstars who have spanned multiple generations.

When looking at the rosters of each team on the NHL website, it can be seen that the Blues have the largest percentage of Canadian players on their squad in comparison to the other teams in the NHL, including the Canadian teams. The Montreal Canadians are the Canadian club with the most maple syrup running through their veins because they have 16 Canadians on their roster of 27 players.

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What will the percentage of Canadian players be in the future?

The trend of fewer Canadian players is expected to continue, and the number of Canadian NHL players will continue to fall. In other words, it’s not because Canada produces a lower-quality player. I believe the number of top-end gamers is at an all-time high. It’s just that other countries are creating so many top-notch players.

The United States continues to produce players, and I expect this trend to continue. Furthermore, I believe Europe’s talented athlete pool has much-untapped potential. I think the number of players from Central Europe will rise, with Germany leading the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other countries are well-represented in the NHL?

Other countries well-represented in the NHL include the United States (25% of NHL players), Sweden (11%), Finland (5%), Russia (4%), and the Czech Republic (3%).

Has the percentage of Canadian NHL players changed over time?

Yes, the percentage of Canadian NHL players has decreased over time. In the 1970s, Canadians made up approximately 80% of NHL players, while in the 1980s, the number decreased to approximately 70%.

What NHL Team Has The Most Canadian Players In 2022?

The Oilers and Canadiens each have 20 Canadian players on their rosters, while the Boston Bruins have 13 American players. It gives the Oilers and Canadiens a lead.

How Many Players in the NHL are Natives of Countries Other Than Their Own?

There are 794 players on the beginning rosters for the season. Of those players, 342 (or 43.1% of the total) are from Canada. Looking at the 2021-22 season’s opening-night rosters, 42.8 percent of players originated from the Great White North.

Conclusion: What Percentage of NHL Players are Canadian?

The National Hockey League has a long and illustrious tradition of welcoming players worldwide and maintaining an inclusive culture. Nevertheless, Canadians unquestionably hold the upper hand regarding the total population.

Many commentators, both biassed and objective, think that the sheer number of people in the country who start playing hockey at a young age is what makes it a statistical certainty that they will have the highest number of players who are good enough to merit a spot in the best hockey league in the world.

Regardless of whether or not this is true, the reality remains that there is a wealth of skill in Canadian hockey, and the National Hockey League needs to reflect this.

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