One mission accomplished — the next is within reach.
Canada’s emergence as a full-fledged soccer nation in 2021 began with the Canadian women — who “changed the colour” of the medal to gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
After back-to-back bronze medals in 2012 and 2016, the Canadian women’s soccer team moved up two spots on the podium and became Olympic champions.
The Canadian men are on the verge of their first World Cup berth since 1986. With eight matches played and six to go, Canada’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign has already delivered two marquee events on home soil.
Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez developed as the fan favourite in New York en route to the U.S. Open final.
Although the 19-year-old left-hander from Laval, Que., was defeated by fellow teenager (and Toronto-born) Emma Raducanu 6-4, 6-3, Fernandez delivered a touching post-match tribute to ‘resilient’ New York City on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
From Canada soccer’s impact to Fernandez’s remarkable run to the U.S. Open final, here are the 10 most memorable Canadian sports moments that defined the year.
Canada soccer’s Labbé, Quinn inspire
At Tokyo 2020, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé helped Canada to penalty shootout wins over Brazil in the quarter-finals and Sweden in the gold-medal game.
Shortly after Canada’s Olympic victory celebration, the 35-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., (unofficially) became the new National Minister of Defence.
A change to the Canadian keeper’s position was made on Wikipedia and drew the attention of Harjit Sajjan — who held the position during the Games.
From one MND to another, thank you for defending the flag and for helping bring home this long awaited gold🥇to Canada!<br><br>So proud of all of you! <br> 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 <a href=”https://t.co/WAqyLWShPe”>https://t.co/WAqyLWShPe</a>
In September, Labbé opened up again about her mental health struggles and revealed she could not train for part of the Olympics because of ‘high levels of anxiety and multiple panic attacks.‘
Before the final kicked off, Canadian midfielder Quinn had already made Olympic history.
The 25-year-old from Toronto would become the first openly transgender and non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal when the Canadian team defeated their long-time rivals and reigning World Champions, the United States in the semifinals.
Quinn came out publicly as transgender in September 2020, changed their pronouns to they/them and now goes by one name.
Canadian men produce signature events
Through eight games in the final round of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region, Canada is top of the table.
In their last match on Nov. 16, the Canadian men earned a 2-1 landmark victory over regional powerhouse Mexico on the frozen tundra of the “Estadio Iceteca” (aka Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium), which vaulted Canada into first place.
After Cyle Larin’s eventual match-winner — his second goal of the contest — Canadian defender Sam Adekugbe flung himself into a snowbank during the celebrations.
Adekugbe’s celebratory reaction went viral.
Canada’s Sam Adekugbe really dived into the snow after Cyle Larin got his brace 🤣<br><br>(via <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBSSportsGolazo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CBSSportsGolazo</a>) <a href=”https://t.co/1fifNSu1Tx”>pic.twitter.com/1fifNSu1Tx</a>
It had to be done. <a href=”https://t.co/kxrmJAldBx”>pic.twitter.com/kxrmJAldBx</a>
Things you love to see…score a goal (or 2) against Mexico…celebrate by jumping into a snow bank. <a href=”https://twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CanadaSoccerEN</a> ⛄️ ⚽️ 🇨🇦
This is the most Canadian goal celebration 😂❤️🇨🇦❄️ <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANMNT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CANMNT</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9ibZM3c5Ur”>pic.twitter.com/9ibZM3c5Ur</a>
On the field, Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies continues to impress for Canada.
In front of Toronto’s BMO field at full capacity, Davies’ remarkable goal against Panama helped the men’s team claim a crucial 4-1 victory.
The stunning solo effort got the attention of Canadian global star Drake.
Herdman on Davies: He just got a text from <a href=”https://twitter.com/Drake?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Drake</a>. Drake wants to meet the boys. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OVO?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OVO</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForCanada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ForCanada</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANMNT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CANMNT</a>
Drake showed his support last night for <a href=”https://twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CanadaSoccerEN</a> by reaching out to Alphonso Davies to meet the team after Canada’s win 🇨🇦🙌<br><br>(via IG/champagnepapi, tajonbuchanan, liammillar11, alphonsodavies) <a href=”https://t.co/J7MUPWStzA”>pic.twitter.com/J7MUPWStzA</a>
Tickets for Canada’s next World Cup qualifier home game, against the United States, sold out before the public sale.
The match is expected to take place at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont., on Jan. 30.
Fernandez delivers touching speech
Leylah Fernandez arrived at Flushing Meadows for the U.S. Open ranked No. 73 in the world.
In her post-match interview, Fernandez addressed the crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium with a touching tribute.
“I know on this day it was especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States,” Fernandez said. “I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the past 20 years.”
Already a fan-favourite through her gritty play, determination and underdog status throughout the event, the New York crowd gave Canada’s newest tennis superstar a loud ovation.
The post-match acknowledgement from Fernandez drew praise across social media, including from former world No. 1 Andy Roddick.
New York strong ❤️<a href=”https://twitter.com/leylahfernandez?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@leylahfernandez</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#USOpen</a> <a href=”https://t.co/zaxR0igpxI”>pic.twitter.com/zaxR0igpxI</a>
Leylah asking for the mic back to acknowledge 9/11 was one of the classiest, most empathetic, and mature things I’ve ever seen in a post game moment ……… and she’s only 19. I’m blown away
For someone who was not even born on 9/11, from another country, to have the grace to honor our great city in such a moment is inspiring. New York honors you tonight <a href=”https://twitter.com/leylahfernandez?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@leylahfernandez</a>. Thank you. <a href=”https://t.co/0BFoowS86w”>https://t.co/0BFoowS86w</a>
Following her breakout season, the Laval, Que., teen now has her sights set on a top-10 spot in the world rankings, as well as Grand Slam and WTA titles alongside her coach and father Jorge Fernandez.
Canada’s athlete of the year dominates in Tokyo
Damian Warner became Canada’s first Olympic champion in the decathlon and surpassed the 9,000-point mark, an Olympic record.
On the strength of his historic performance, Canadian media awarded the London, Ont., native with the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.
In a display of extraordinary athleticism, Warner became just the fourth decathlete to break 9,000 points and delivered one of the greatest performances in the history of his sport.
Oleksiak swims to Canadian Olympic history
At Tokyo 2020, Penny Oleksiak became the most-decorated Canadian Olympian of all time.
Canadian women captured 18 of Canada’s 24 medals at the Games, with Oleksiak contributing three to that tally.
At Rio 2016, the Toronto native captured four medals, including gold, as a 16-year-old. Five years later, with bronze in the 4×100-metre medley, Oleksiak passed Canadian greats Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen with her record-setting seventh Olympic medal.
The Canadian swim star was quick to give credit to her relay teammates Maggie Mac Neil, Kylie Masse and Sydney Pickrem with a tweet in reference to her favourite artist, Drake.
De Grasse earns gold, goes 3-for-3 at Olympics again
With Oleksiak at the top, Canadian track and field star Andre De Grasse isn’t far behind.
Five years later — in the same event with his trademark strong finish — the Markham, Ont., native became Olympic champion for the first time.
De Grasse, the first Canadian to win gold in the 200m since Percy Williams in 1928, clocked in with a national-record time of 19.62 seconds.
Watching Andre winning Gold.<br>Welcome to the club!!!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/champions?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#champions</a> 🥇 <a href=”https://t.co/QEDSS2qhRY”>pic.twitter.com/QEDSS2qhRY</a>
STATEMENT – Markham proclaims August 4th 2021 as Andre De Grasse Day in honour of our Olympic champion.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeAreMarkham?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WeAreMarkham</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CBCOlympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CBCOlympics</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/De6rasse?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@De6rasse</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/TeamCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@TeamCanada</a> <a href=”https://t.co/sJQRKHnNnv”>pic.twitter.com/sJQRKHnNnv</a>
The 27-year-old also took bronze in the marquee event, the 100m, and lifted the Canadian team to bronze in the 4×100 with a phenomenal anchor leg.
De Grasse has won a medal in every Olympic and world championship event final he’s competed in.
Paralympic star Rivard overcomes ‘failed’ start in Tokyo
Aurélie Rivard captured Canada’s 1st gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.
However, it was her first race, the women’s S10 50m freestyle, that left her feeling unsatisfied.
“I didn’t have a bronze medal in my collection, and I didn’t really want one. I didn’t have a good race,” she said.
Hungry for gold, Rivard would repeat as champion in the S10 100m freestyle in a remarkable time of 58.14 seconds — to break the world record for the second time that day.
Rivard would go on to win three more medals, including gold in the 400m freestyle S10, setting another world record in that event.
Bujold, Gaucher fight for gender equality
Two female Canadian athletes won their battles to be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
Both are mothers, who had been prevented from going for that reason.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) used that two-year time period to determine qualification for the Games after the pandemic wiped out the 2020 competitive year.
After weeks filled with legal battles, the 34-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., was ruled eligible to box at the Tokyo Olympics by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Less than two months from the opening ceremonies in Tokyo, basketball player Kim Gaucher was forced to make an emotional plea via Instagram, saying the IOC was forcing her to make a tough choice: skip the Olympics, or spend 28 days in Tokyo without her daughter, who she was breastfeeding.
A few weeks later, the 37-year-old from Mission, B.C., received good news — baby Sophie was going to Tokyo after all.
Mac Neil’s priceless reaction to gold
Maggie Mac Neil had just won Canada’s first gold medal of Tokyo 2020, but in her Olympic debut, the 21-year-old native of London, Ont., looked surprised.
After touching the wall, Mac Neil looked up at the scoreboard and squinted — then realized her name topped the list of swimmers competing in the women’s 100m butterfly final.
The replay of Maggie Mac Neil squinting before realizing she won gold — because she doesn’t wear contacts when she swims — makes me laugh every time I see it <a href=”https://t.co/vyYFSHam3C”>pic.twitter.com/vyYFSHam3C</a>
Mac Neil’s meme-worthy reaction was due to the fact she’s near-sighted and doesn’t wear contacts or prescription goggles in the pool.
She would leave Tokyo with three medals — one of each colour — and contributed to Canada’s continued swim success with the relay teams.
Stewart, Lakatos form bond in Tokyo
In the middle of his shot put final at Japan’s National Stadium, Greg Stewart’s focus shifted away from the competition.
The 35-year-old, who stands at 7-foot-2, would encourage Canadian teammate and wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos around the track.
One Canadian Paralympic champ cheering on another 👏<br><br>Greg Stewart made sure <a href=”https://twitter.com/BrentLak?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BrentLak</a> could feel the support during his 100m T53 heat 🇨🇦 <a href=”https://t.co/CZvEKlAk2X”>pic.twitter.com/CZvEKlAk2X</a>
Stewart completed a Paralympic record-setting toss of 16.75 metres in the first round of throws in the men’s F46 shot put.
The Kamloops, B.C., native would then capture Canada’s second gold medal of the Tokyo Paralympics.
With four medals in six events, the 41-year-old formed a special bond with Stewart while in Japan.
Day 8 was a good day 🙂 <a href=”https://t.co/LCkVrcIXcm”>pic.twitter.com/LCkVrcIXcm</a>
How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.
Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags
Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.
“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.
“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”
Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Mike Babcock did the phone thing with him as well. “Personally I had no problem with it but I can see how it might put someone in an uncomfortable situation.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 18, 2023
But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.
Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.
“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.
To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.
Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.
But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.
Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.
On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.
By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.
Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.
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