Identity can be a very powerful and elusive concept, especially with respect to the identity of an entire nation let alone a single human. It is important because,like most things in life, it is easier to group and categorize things in order to sum something or someone up instead of carefully describing all of their intricacies. It is in part this act of labeling in order to simplify that identity gets its' power. It is much better to be the "nice guy" or the "place of pasta and pizza" than to be the jerk or the war mongering state. In the case of nationalism; identity is usually generated the same way, tough countries are full of mountains and natural disasters and war whereas peaceful countries might be known more for food or culture. It is in these foods, cultures, wars and mountains that people forge a national identity for themselves. Identities may not always be intentionally created but made naturally out of the actions and ideals of its holder. In the case of nationalism it is often easier to think of a tangible, physical person, place or thing that embodies one or all of a nations qualities. It is through history and those men and women creating and recording it that we, as a nation, leave our legacy for the great land we call home.
Sports are an integral part of both traditional and modern society but are also usually deeply rooted in the history of a nation, state or nation-state. Whether it is golf, soccer, football or hockey they can all be traced to one place of origin which is usually very reminiscent of what the culture and people of the origin state are like. While lacrosse plays a major role in Canadian history and is in fact the national sport of Canada, hockey is much more universally recognized inside and outside our borders as the Canadian sport of choice. It is no surprise then, that many of the most notable hockey heroes hail from Canada.