Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top Nine Canadian Sports Stories/Moments of 2009

For 2009 I've complied a list of the top nine Canadian sporting moments of the year. Just a warning these moments are probably incredibly bias towards my favourite sports and teams

9. Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup victory this year had a very Canadian feel to it. With the then twenty-one-year-old captain, Sidney Crosby, lifting the Cup after a fantastic playoffs alongside often criticized goalie Marc-André Fleury who made some key saves especially in game seven, many Canadians got behind the Penguins. Although Detroit boasted an array of Canadian talent as well (as almost all NHL teams do) Pittsburgh felt like Canada's team during those seven games.

8. Daniel Nestor won the men's doubles competition at Wimbledon for the second straight year. Along with Serbian partner, Nenad Zimonjić, Nestor won in four sets over the Bryan brothers. Daniel Nestor had already won all four grand slam tournaments and has an Olympic Gold medal to boot as he continues to be one of the most under appreciated athletes this country has.

7. Despite vast opposition to the games coming from withing the city and the country Toronto was awarded the 2015 Pan Am games. What will it mean for the city? Will it lead to a Summer Olympics in Toronto? Will it be a money sucking failure? Who knows... but it will be a very interesting next few years in the lead up to these games.

6. In what looks like it will be the final season of USL-1 the second tier of soccer in North America, the final was contested between the two Canadian teams in the division. The Montreal Impact came out on top of the Vancouver Whitecaps after winning 6-3 on aggregate over two exciting matches. The win for the Impact came after one of the most up and down seasons in the history of sports with embarrassment in the Voyageurs Cup and in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Santos Laguna.

5. Sure the Olympics are next year but with the torch relay, and Canadian World Cup results coming in thick and fast (both positive and some disastrous with the recent skit team injuries), this country really has caught Olympic fever. Vancouver are getting ready to host the big part in less than two months and for two weeks next February the whole world will be watching Canada.

4. Yes, Canada winning the World Juniors is no big deal, especially after the juniors won their fifth straight tournament in Ottawa at the start of the year. But some of the hockey played during this tournament was outstanding. Canada's 7-4 win over the United States (technically during the dying hours of 2008) was one of the greatest hockey games I have ever seen. Jordan Eberle's tying goal against Russia in the semi-finals a few days later to send the game into overtime at 6-6 was brilliant. Of course seeing Eberle score the winner in the shootout against Russia and Canada going on to win the gold against Sweden in the final was the icing on the cake.

3. After what was a fairly average Grey Cup for three quarters, the fourth quarter threw up some real drama with the thirteenth man controversy that will surely go down in Grey Cup history as one of the biggest mistakes of all time. However the final penalty that Saskatchewan took overshadowed a fantastic comeback engineered by Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes.

2. The Montreal Impact kicked off their season with a game to remember. In front of 55,000 fans at Olympic Stadium, the Impact pulled out a 2-0 result against Santos Laguna of Mexico. Considering almost all of the support was for the Impact this was a new frontier for Canadian soccer attendances in the current era. Had Montreal not shit the bed in Mexico and gave away what was essentially a four goal lead the result may have marked something much bigger.

1. Three of the best football games that university football has ever seen in this country took place in three straight weeks this November. The Queen's Golden Gaels beat Western 43-39 in the Yates Cup final at Richardson Stadium in a game which feature two quarterbacks passing for over 500 yards. The goal from the outset of the season for the Gaels seemed to be the Yates Cup, but they went above and beyond that the next week knocking off the top team in the country, Laval, the next week. The 33-30 win over Laval took Queens to the Vanier Cup, ironically hosted by Laval. After going down 18 points to the Calgary Dinos, Queens made a fantastic comeback in the second half to win the game 33-31 and come out as Canadian University Champions. On a personal note being able to attend all of these games live was one of my life highlights watching sports.

Here's to an even better 2010 with an Olympics on Canadian soil!

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