What Percentage of NHL Players Are Canadian?

As of the 2023 season, 42% of NHL players are Canadian. This is lower than in the past, due to the expanding international popularity of the sport. Many of the best NHL players today are Canadian, including Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Nathan MacKinnon.

If you think of Canada, you often think of the sport of hockey. The modern sport as we know it was invented here, and professional hockey teams have been full of high-quality Canadian players for well over a century, and this shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

But how many players currently in the NHL are Canadian? Keep reading this guide to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • This number is quite high, but actually far lower than it used to be. The league used to be dominated by Canadian players, but more and more international players have joined the league in recent decades.
  • Some of the best players in the league come from Canada, as well as some of the most talented and successful players of all time.

What Percentage of NHL Players are Canadian?

As of the 2023 NHL season, 42% of NHL players are Canadian. This is still the highest amount of any nationality, but is less than it used to be. For example, back in 1985, over 75% of NHL players were Canadian. The number goes even higher the further you go back.

The reason for this shrinking percentage is that the sport is becoming much more popular around the globe. Now, the sport is played frequently in the USA, Sweden, Germany, and many other countries all over the world. 

As a result, more and more world-class players are coming from other parts of the world and joining the NHL. Canadians will always be a major part of the league, but it is good to see other nations represented as well.

The Best Canadian Players in the NHL

While the percentage of NHL players being Canadian is not as high as it once was, some of the best players in the league still hail from Canada. This includes some of the most explosive forwards in the league, from Connor McDavid, to Sidney Crosby, to Nathan MacKinnon.

In addition to these talented forwards, you also have incredible defenders like Cale Makar, Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Ekblad, and Brent Burns.

Canadians are also well-represented when it comes to goalies, as Carter Hart, Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Tristan Jarry are some of the best in the NHL.


Here are a few commonly asked questions about Canadian players in the NHL, along with their answers.

Who are the best Canadian players of all time?

Some of the best players to ever set foot on the ice are Canadian, including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Mario Lemeiux, Jean Believeau, and many others. They have won countless Stanley Cups and numerous other impressive awards and accolades.

Which province has the most NHL players?

Currently, 44% of all Canadian players were born in Ontario, which is far and away the province with the most NHL players. The next highest is Quebec with 15.2%, and then British Columbia with 11.5%.

Final Thoughts

While the NHL was once made up of almost entirely Canadian players, hockey has become more popular around the world, which has led to far more international players joining the league. Even still, nearly half of all NHL players are Canadian today, including many of the best.

Who is your favorite Canadian hockey player of all time? Let me know in a comment below.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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