Like any year, 2022 came and went as its own unique year with many ups and downs. In Toronto, there were many downs for the sporting year with Toronto FC not making the playoffs, Toronto Blue Jays losing in one of the worst ways possible in the finals, and the Leafs being the Leafs and losing in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs. But there were many more reasons to celebrate and here are our top 10 sporting moments in Toronto.
10: York United FC is the final CPL team in the Canadian Championship
Soccer is still growing in Canada and the Canadian Championship is the tournament that allows every club, no matter what league, to play against each other. The lower levels of the tournament are full of CPL teams battling it out until one last one exists.
This year that was York United FC which is considered Toronto’s number two soccer team. Despite having a terrible regular season in Canada’s top domestic league, they had their moments in the sun in the Canadian Championship with two crucial wins before being taken down in a surprisingly close battle against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
9: J. Cole signs with Scarborough Shooting Stars
J. Cole is a rapper that occasionally signs up to play basketball in random places. First, it was Rwanda and now he played some matches for Drake’s new basketball team, the Scarborough Shooting Stars of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
As the league has been growing Canadian talent it also had fans from Guelph and other locations able to see J Cole play basketball instead of rapping. Despite his signing, he only played a few games and missed on the team’s incredible run to the finals where they lost to the Hamilton Honey Badgers. Despite that, it was a crazy first year for the Shooting Stars and for fans of Canadian basketball.
8: Blue Jays beat Red Sox 28-5
It was one of those games that you wondered if the Red Sox stopped trying in the season. In a game where the Red Sox looked lifeless, they allowed 28 runs at home against the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays smashed the record for the most amount of runs in the team’s history and started to fight for the all-time record runs record but fell short.
It was one of those games you will only see once in your lifetime and for Red Sox fans it was a game to forget. The great thing is that it was only one match but the Red Sox would be the last-place team in the American League East.
7: Toronto FC signs Italian talent.
Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne were two veteran Italian players that signed with Toronto FC early in the year. The news was massive that had a lot of European fans confused as to why two older, but not ancient players would come to play in Canada. For Toronto fans, it was a dream come true to have worldly talent play for the local club in a league that is continuing to grow at a fast rate.
Their inclusion also made the team instantly better even though it was too late to save the season and the team. But after the MLS season was over there was the World Cup and maybe we could watch the veterans play for Italy. Because Italy made the World Cup, right?
6: Blue Jays made the playoffs
In any other league, the playoffs might be a consolation prize. In the MLB only a select few get to have the chance to play in the playoffs. The Blue Jays finally got to the real playoffs since 2016 and the top wild card meant they had a slight advantage against their opponents. It was a tough season as well with Manager Charlie Montoyo being fired in the middle of the season.
However, their opponents were the Seattle Mariners who outclassed the Blue Jays in two games to lead to one of the most embarrassing losses the city has seen in a while, which in itself is really impressive considering the playoffs in other teams in this city.
5: Denis Shapovalav wins Davis Cup with Canada
In the world of tennis, Canada has a lot of young talent growing into superstars. One of those is Vaughan native Denis Shapovalav who has broke barriers this year as he helped Canada win its first Davis Cup.
He was joined by Felix Auger Aliassime in a tournament where Canada was entered as a wild card and meaninglessly pass through all of their opponents until they beat Australia to win it all. Shapovalav joins Bianca Andreescu as GTA talent who have been getting into places no one from Canada has ever gone in tennis.
4. Scott Barnes wins Rookie of the Year
The Raptors had a surprising year in getting into the playoffs. Despite losing in the first round, they also had another surprise in Scottie Barnes. After being drafted 4th overall in a surprising pick, he quickly showed to be an offensive powerhouse that will continue to produce as time goes on.
He is the first player since Vince Carter in 1999 to be on the Raptors and win the Rookie of the Year award. Despite having some growing pains in his second year he is still paying off for the Raptors and will be interesting to see how his career continues to grow.
3. Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy
The most valuable player in the NHL. Auston Matthews came off a monster year with 60 goals and 46 assists to combine into 106 points. He became the first Maple Leafs’ player to win the Hart since Ted Kennedy in 1955.
The season sadly didn’t end any differently than any other season with the Leafs. Losing Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning when they had some sort of lead in the series. But it shows that Matthews is a generational talent that the Leafs are lucky to have and there are hopes to see more seasons like last year from Matthews. Hopefully, Matthews also brings more than just his game into the next season.
2. Toronto Argonauts win the Grey Cup
With disappointment from every team that made the playoffs, it looked like the Toronto Argonauts were going to be another failure on the list. In the CFL, the Western Conference was dominant throughout the season while the Eastern Conference looked terrible. Whoever was going to the final of the West was going to be the Grey Cup winner and it looked like it was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
But in one of the most dramatic endings to a Grey Cup where the Blue Bombers got blocked from a field goal, the Argonauts showed their strength and won their 18th Grey Cup in their franchise history and giving Toronto an unlikely reason to celebrate this year.
1. Canada qualifies for the FIFA World Cup in BMO Field
After 34 years, Canada’s men’s soccer team is going to the biggest stage in Qatar and they did it in the population capital of the nation. On the BMO field against Jamaica, it would be an easy match to send the team to the World Cup but with their recent loss to Costa Rica, it was still a nail-biter. In a run that saw Canada not losing to both the United States or Mexico, Canada finished the game 4-0 to have the official word. Drums were played and a team full of diverse characters all stood in one while the drums were beating and the chants of “Oh Canada.” While there may be more success in the near future for Canada’s soccer team, nothing will ever come close to the feeling of the 2021-22 qualification run and nothing will come close to what happened in BMO Field that night.
main image credits: Getty Images