Down but Not Out
After a disappointing World Cup performance that saw the seventh-ranked Canadian women’s national soccer team booted from the tournament in the first round, the team is turning its sights to the Olympic qualifier against Jamaica. The defending Olympic champions made headlines earlier this year when they protested significant funding cuts to their program from Canada Soccer. The cuts, which several players have publicly attributed to Canada Soccer’s financial mismanagement and sexism, have resulted in shorter camps, fewer full day training days, and fewer players and staff being invited to camps.
Canada plays Jamaica on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at BMO Field in Toronto.
40 Wins? Hooooly
The Raptors begin the 2023-24 NBA season at home on Oct. 25 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the departure of longstanding point guard Fred Van Vleet and, with him, the Poeltl-Van Vleet pick-and-roll connection, Doric Sam of The Athletic has joined many other NBA insiders in projecting a losing season (40-42) for the Raps. After a season marred by a lack of team chemistry and a disastrous half-court offence, new head coach Darko Rajakovic has his work cut out for him. Will defensive stalwart O.G. Anunoby assume a larger offensive role? Will Scottie Barnes play more minutes as a point guard? Will new Raptor Gradey Dick be the three-point shooting threat that the Raptors have so desperately needed? This year, the Raptors enter the regular season with far more questions than answers.
Paris je t’aime!
The Canadian men’s national basketball team defeated Spain on Sept. 3 in a nail biting 88-85 victory during the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks, the win secured a berth for Canada in the 2024 Paris Olympics. The feat marks the first time since 2000 that the Canadian men’s basketball team will be going to the Olympics.
Injured Jays seek playoff berth
The Jays entered September fighting for the final wild card spot in the American League. The team is, however, plagued by a long list of injuries: all-star shortstop Bo Bichette (right quad strain), catcher Danny Jansen (fractured right middle finger) and third baseman Matt Chapman (right middle finger sprain). While these injuries, paired with the Jays’ offensive struggles, are concerning, the Jays have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league. They aren’t out of the woods yet, but there are a few reasons for cautious optimism.
PWHL: Original 6 Announced
After much negotiation, the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) is finally a reality. The PWHL announced six franchises in August, with Canadian teams in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and three in the U.S. The league will feature 150 of the world’s best players competing for a championship cup. While the league schedule has not yet been announced, several high profile players, including Mikyla Grant-Mentis, have announced that they will be declaring for the PWHL draft.
The first-ever draft will take place on Sept. 18 in Toronto. The puck for the inaugural season will drop in January 2024.