Top Five Canadian Sports Stars To Watch In 2022
For Canadians, sports is in the blood. Our vast land has given the world hockey, lacrosse, and, of course, Canadian football. Compliments of the house.
Consider this: the recent Winter Olympics in Beijing, saw Canada win 26 medals, including four golds.
While you can be sure there will always be a loyal army of fans behind every major sporting event in Canada, you can be equally confident that our very own top, home-grown talent will be doing us proud the world over.
But a caveat: we might lend our top talent across international borders, but they know their hearts remain solely on Canadian soil.
As Canada’s top athletic talent competes across the country and around the world, here at Bodog, we’ve got our eye on the extra-special Canadian sports stars to watch in 2022.
Connor McDavid is already considered one of the greatest hockey players that Canada – and some say the world – has ever produced. Whose star is still rising, needs no introduction in his native Canada; but since the NHL wunderkind continues to up his own ante at such an early point in his career, McDavid’s illustrious turn on the ice warrants all the hype it receives.
The 25-year-old centerman, born in Richmond Hill, Ontario, has been honing his hockey skills since early childhood, and at some point clearly teamed up with success itself, which has followed McDavid in lockstep ever since.
McDavid was drafted to the Edmonton Oilers in 2015 as the overall first pick of the NHL season, and, after being named in the NHL All-Rookie Team in his first year, McDavid was promoted to captain for the Oilers – the sort of leapfrog promotion that the rest of us can only dream of.
In that first year of his captaincy, 2016, McDavid joined Canada’s senior hockey team on the world stage for the IIHF World Championship. It proved to be Canada’s year as they took home the gold medal for the pride of all Canadians. He’s continued to compete for Canada ever since, and it’s here that we hope Connor McDavid will stay; bound for glory and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Soccer prodigy Alphonso Boyle Davies, a baby at just 21 years old, is a left-back with the Canadian National and Germany’s Bayern Munich soccer teams. Thanks to his unmatched pace, creativity with the ball, and impressive technical skills, Davies is widely considered to be one of the best full-backs in the sport.
Davies may be young, but he’s not wasted any time on the field: notched on his belt are several broken records that outsize his fledgling professional career. Included among them: the first player born in the 2000s to play in the MLS, the youngest player to play for – and score a goal for – the Canadian men’s national team; and, the titleholder of German Bundesliga Rookie of the Season.
Born to Liberian parents in Ghana, Davies has spent most of his life in Canada but now resides in Germany where he’s already won the Champions League, DFB-Pokal, and the Bundesliga. The fresh-faced talent has a long career ahead of him. With skills that can only sharpen, expect Alphonso Davies to become a household name in soccer sooner rather than later.
It’s uncontroversial to declare Jamal Edwards to be one of Canada’s best basketballers. After thriving as a point guard during his college years in Kentucky, Edwards entered the 2016 NBA draft to become that year’s 7th overall pick as the Denver Nuggets move quickly to snap him up, and there he remains, enjoying success after success in Colorado at an individual and a team level.
After picking up several accolades in his first season, Edwards was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He has since lept from strength to strength, continually beating his record for most points scored in a game, like reaching 50 in a 120-103 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Edwards has laid low in the months since tearing his ACL, but with youth and determination onside, a full recovery is almost certain, and Edwards looks set to return to the court stronger than ever as Canada lends Colorado one of its most talented sons.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were more than happy to steal one of Canada’s best football players for the position of wide receiver. Hailing from Abbotsford, British Columbia, the wide-eyed ambitions of Chase Claypool saw him complete 50 games over four years at Notre Dame, making 150 receptions for 2,159 yards, and scoring 19 touchdowns.
His college performance was certainly an auspicious start, and the pro leagues agreed. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers plucked Claypool out of relative obscurity as 49th overall in the second round. He is already halfway through a four-year contract valued at $6.6 million.
During his rookie year, Claypool matched Roy Jefferson’s 1968 record of four touchdowns in a single season, and all up he has amassed 121 receptions for 1,733 yards, and racked up a total of 13 touchdowns.
With such impressive stats from Claypool after just a couple of years, Canada’s gift to American football will surely keep on giving.
26-year-old basketballer, Kia Nurse, spent her formative years in Hamilton, Ontario. By 16, she had represented Team Canada Not only has she graced the WNBA court with her Made in Canada-stamped skills, but she’s also made her mark in the Women’s National Basketball team, representing Canada on the international stage in Rio 2016 and in the (delayed) 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
After moving to the US for college, Nurse, with her impressive sporting pedigree rendered almost irrelevant next to her sheer talent, played in 147 games during her four years in Connecticut, averaging 11.4 points per game. The NBA naturally took notice of those kind of stats, and the New York Liberty WNBA team selected her as their first-round pick (and 10th overall) in the 2018 draft; a prescient decision, considering the franchise records Nurse broke in her rookie season.
Nurse took her talents intercontinentally in 2019, and, as nominated MVP, proved herself a considerable asset for Australia’s Canberra Capitals as they won back-to-back WNBL titles during her tenure. Since returning to the North American continent in 2021, Kia Nurse’s loyalties are pledged to The Phoenix Mercury as all-star wing, re-signing with them in 2022 despite her August ‘21 ACL injury and subsequent surgery forcing her off the court for several months.
With Canadian sporting superstars never in short supply, sports fans are certainly never short of athletes and teams to cheer on. But these extra-special talents call for broad appreciation for their legendary potential, and keen sports enthusiasts could do worse than to seize any opportunity to back them at the Bodog sportsbook.