How Many Hockey Players In The World? [Expert Guide!]

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How many hockey players does Germany have? What is the exact amount of ice hockey players per capita in Sweden? How about Canada—does it have a lot of hockey players or is it more of a winter sport there?

These are just some of the most popular questions regarding the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (FIH) world rankings. The sport is a popular one, with billions of views on YouTube and billions of matches being played annually. With the advent of NHL players starting to play for European clubs, this list will only get longer.

Here is a run-down of all the statistics that you need to know regarding the popularity of ice hockey around the world.


Germany is one of the biggest nations on the European continent, and also one of the most popular ones when it comes to ice hockey. The Germans consume a lot of ice cream due to the cold weather, with over 17,000 tons being eaten per year. Not only that, but the country boasts some of the biggest ice hockey rinks in Europe, including the Olympiastadion in Berlin and the Ernst-Hackel-Stadion in Cologne. Over 66,000 people watch ice hockey matches at the Ernst-Hackel-Stadion on any given day, making Germany the fourth-largest country in terms of average attendance. Women in Germany also participate in football, hockey and basketball equally as much as men do. The German national hockey team has been doing well of late, with four gold and two silver medals up for grabs at this year’s Winter Olympics in Russia.

As a whole, Germany is considered to be one of the best hockey nations in the world, placing third in the FIH World Rankings behind Canada and Sweden. Not only that, but the country also had a hand in creating the modern day hockey rink, with most of the design work being done by a man named Willy Bogner. He was a German engineer and architect who came up with the idea for the first modern ice hockey rink back in 1911. Over the years, Bogner has seen his rink design influence many other hockey venues around the world, including ones in Prague, Montreal and Budapest. To this day, Bogner’s design for an indoor ice arena still stands out as one of the greatest hockey rinks of all time.


Canada is the second-largest country in North America, located between the United States and Mexico. While the country doesn’t have a lot of natural resources, like oil or gold, it is known for its immense amount of forests. These forests are what put Canada in the spotlight, since the country is one of the biggest producers of timber in the world. This is largely thanks to its climate, which is extremely cold and harsh. The Canadian national hockey team has been known to perform exceptionally well at both the Winter and Summer Olympics, winning a total of 28 medals between them at these events, including 12 gold medals. In fact, one of the most iconic images from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Canada was of American bobsledder Justin Kripps after he finished his gold-medal-winning run with his dog Spanky by his side.

In 2014, Canada became the first country to send a team to space as part of the International Space Station research program. The country’s space agency, CSA, established a research station in space that year, where scientists conduct experiments on plants and animals in zero gravity. This is how they study the effects of microgravity on the human body and how it could potentially be used to fight cancer and other diseases. The ice hockey rink that the astronauts use to do their work-outs is also a Bogner design, built in 1992.

As a whole, Canada is considered to be one of the best hockey nations in the world, ranking second only to Sweden. They are also one of the most innovative countries when it comes to hockey, with several teams and players having Swedish coaches due to the country’s emphasis on skill rather than physical play. Thanks to Bogner’s designs and innovations, many of the country’s hockey rinks are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world.


Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, located between Norway and Finland. Like Canada, Sweden is another Scandinavian country that is rich in resources. However, unlike the other Scandinavian countries, Sweden is a lot colder than Norway and Iceland, staying at a steady -13 degrees Celsius year round. As a result of this, ice hockey is not just a winter sport in Sweden, with matches often taking place during the country’s cold summer months. The Swedish national hockey team is currently the richest and most successful in the history of the country, with six Olympic gold medals to its name already. The team has also won a record six World Championship titles, including the last five in a row.

It’s not just the size of the country or its success in hockey that makes it unique—the entire country is considered to be a breeding ground for great artists and designers. In fact, the design for the modern-day hockey rink was first implemented by a man named Wilhelm Bogner, the same individual that designed rinks in Germany and Canada. At the time, Bogner was merely looking for a way to keep his fellow students entertained during their studies, but the design would eventually become one of the greatest hockey rinks of all time. Thanks to its large population of designers and engineers, Sweden also had a hand in creating another innovative structure, the Kungliga Skulptorna (Royal Sculpture Workshop), which is a gallery that features the work of mostly Swedish sculptors. The gallery opened its doors in 1885 and is still going strong, with the annual exhibition usually containing the work of some of the country’s top sculptors. The gallery is considered to be the most prominent art museum in Scandinavia, with over 300,000 visitors each year.

As a whole, Sweden is considered to be one of the best countries in the world when it comes to hockey, with five of the top-10 spots in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Rankings going to the Scandinavian nation. The country is also home to some of the greatest designers and sculptors in the world, with its size and position in the North making it a Mecca for the winter sport.

The Rest Of Europe

While Canada, Germany and Sweden represent most of Europe when it comes to hockey, there are still several other countries that play the game. The most prominent of these countries is Russia, which alongside Canada and Sweden is the only country to have four representatives in the top-10 of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Rankings. The other European countries include Italy, France and the United Kingdom, with each of these nations having produced famous hockey players and coaches over the years.

All of Europe, in general, is considered one of the best hockey regions in the world, with several smaller nations producing some of the greatest hockey players ever, not just in Europe but the world over. Many European nations also have a strong ice hockey foundation, with each winter season producing some of the biggest competitions and sports events in the world. This is largely thanks to the frigid temperatures that the continent is known for, making it a breeding ground for hockey talent. In fact, many renowned ice hockey coaches, such as Scotty Reston, consider it to be the best hockey region in the world.


Asia is the largest continent, making up almost two-thirds of the world’s landmasses. Its four most prominent nations—China, Japan, Australia and Singapore—all have football, hockey and cricket teams, with cricket being the most popular sports game in the area. The only two true ice hockey nations in Asia are Russia and Japan, with the rest mostly playing field hockey, with a few teams also experimenting with ice hockey in the country.

The popularity of ice hockey in Asia is mostly due to the fact that the sport can be easily improvised and modified to fit local conditions. This means that you don’t necessarily need an outdoor rink to play the game, with several indoor arenas, like the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, able to house a game. This is also why many well-known hockey coaches, like Scotty Reston, consider the Asia as one of the best hockey regions in the world.

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