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Here are 10 of the top sports stories to watch for in Canada in 2015

December 19, 2014 - 4:00 AM

2015 will be a busy year in sports. Here are 10 things to watch for in the coming year:


Toronto is gearing up to host the Pan American Games in July.

The Games were last held in Canada in 1999 when Winnipeg hosted.

Toronto residents have been cursing construction that has snarled downtown traffic for years leading up to the Games, which are expected to cost about $2.5 billion, including security, transportation and the athletes village.

But Canada is likely to shine in the medals table with many of the country's top athletes expected to compete in the July 10-26 Games.


This summer, the FIFA Women's World Cup will hit six Canadian cities: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.

The Canadian women's soccer team is ranked eighth in the world and their best finish so far at the World Cup was fourth in 2003. They also won bronze at the 2012 Olympics.

The tournament has had its share of controversy already with some elite players fighting the decision to play it on artificial turf.


Come one, come all.

More than 2,400 athletes from the ages of 12 to 35 will be taking part in the Canada Winter Games from Feb. 12 to March 1 in Prince George, B.C., making this a massive event for amateur athletes across the country and a great chance to spot some future stars.

Eugenie Bouchard, Sidney Crosby and Hayley Wickenheiser all competed for their province at past Canada Games.


Canadian tennis stars Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic rose to new heights in 2014.

The spotlight will shine even brighter on them in 2015 as they try to live up to their success.

Bouchard, a 20-year-old from Westmount, Que., jumped from 32nd to fifth in the WTA world rankings this year to become Canada's highest-ranked singles player ever. She also made the Wimbledon final as well as the semifinals in the Australian Open and French Open.

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., soared as high as No. 6 in the rankings, along the way beating Roger Federer for the first time in Paris this fall and making the Wimbledon semfinals.


Watch for Abbotsford, B.C., golfer Nick Taylor on the PGA Tour in 2015.

In November, he came from four back to fire a final-round 66 at the PGA Tour's Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., for his first PGA Tour win.

The first Canadian to win a Tour event since Stephen Ames in 2009, Taylor has earned his tour card through the 2016-17 season.


Excitement is building for the 2015 NHL draft with a couple of possible franchise players up for grabs.

Forwards Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have generated huge buzz leading up to their draft year.

The draft is being held June 26–27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., home of the Panthers.

This is also the last best chance for teams that finish at or near the bottom of the standings to score big in the draft, since the lottery will be expanded in 2016 to give other teams a better shot at improving their picks.


After a franchise-record 48 wins in 2013-14, Canada's only NBA team jumped off to their best start ever in 2014-15.

Last season, fans got their hopes up as the Raptors won their second Atlantic Division title, after failing to make the playoffs five years running.

Can players like Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson get them back and move them beyond the first round?


Las Vegas could be an NHL town soon, with an ownership group in place and a $350-million, 20,000-seat arena under construction.

And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently gave millionaire businessman Bill Foley the go-ahead to gauge interest in expanding to Sin City with a season-ticket drive.

While it's good news for hockey fans in Nevada, it could mean the wait just got longer for other potential expansion cities like Quebec City and Seattle.

The ticket drive is expected to start early in the New Year so stay tuned.


The Toronto Blue Jays have made a couple of significant moves this off-season, adding Canadian catcher Russell Martin and all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos is hoping the additions will help propel his team into the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 1993.

It's not the first time Anthopoulos has shaken things up — he made a blockbuster traded with the Marlins before the 2013 season only to watch his team have yet another mediocre season.

But Martin and Donaldson are proven winners and could give the Jays the boost they need.


Canada was woefully under-represented in the 2014 NHL playoffs with only the Montreal Canadiens qualifying for post-season play. While they did make Canada proud by advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference final, it was the first time since the 1973 post-season that Canada was so poorly represented.

This season is shaping up to be a different story with Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver all in the playoff conversation.

April is still a ways off but there should be plenty of drama for Canadian fans to look forward to between now and then.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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