A new study suggests Canada's favourite pastime is on its way to being an indoor-only sport in some areas of the country.

The study, released Monday by United Kingdom-based IOP Publishing, says outdoor ice hockey in Canada is being threatened by climate change.

Lawrence Mysak, co-author of the report and a professor at Montreal's McGill University, says a warmer winter caused by climate change is restricting outdoor ice rinks from operating.


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Mysak fears the gradual warming of the Earth caused by burning fossil fuels could eventually cause the beloved outdoor activity to perish in several decades.

Regions that are being hit the hardest are the Prairies, southeastern British Columbia and southern Ontario and Quebec.

Mysak said the Maritimes and northern parts of the country did not see significant changes.

Using historical data from more than 140 weather stations across Canada since the 1950s, the researchers calculated the annual start date and length of the outdoor skating season.

They then looked at how many days in January and February were cold enough to skate on backyard or community rinks built on the ground or snow.