The most popular sports in Canada are slightly different from many other countries, with the leading activities being basketball, lacrosse, football, ice hockey, and baseball. These 5 sports are huge in Canada, with lacrosse and ice hockey being recognized as the national sports of Canada. Canadians love everything to do with these pursuits, from playing them very young to spectating their favorite teams, as well as online sports betting. Here are some of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time.
Wayne Gretzky – Ice Hockey Player
The widely known ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky is kicking off this list of the greatest athletes of all time to come out of Canada. Over his career, he played in a staggering 20 seasons across four different teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). His debut was in 1979, and he played professionally until 1999. A name that has been given to Wayne Gretzky is “The Great One,” as he is widely regarded as being one of, if not the best, ice hockey players ever to play the game.
To put his career into perspective, he ranks number one for the most goals scored, most assists given, and most points ever scored in the entire history of the NHL. Another remarkable achievement of Gretzky is the fact that he managed to score a whopping 200 points in just one season. He is the first and only player ever to do this, showing just how much better he was than everyone else. In 1999 he retired, at which point he had set 61 total records within the NHL. These include 15 records in playoffs, 6 records in All-stars, and 40 records set in the regular season. He truly is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and we may never see another player come along like him in our lives.
Terry Fox – Athlete
Terry Fox, Terrance Stanley Fox, was an athlete for Canada who didn’t just shine on the track. He was heavily involved in cancer research and other humanitarian issues. Unfortunately, Fox’s life was cut short after he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer that eventually took his life in 1981. His bravery both on and off the track has made his name stick in the minds of many Canadians which is why deserves his place on this list of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time.
Another impressive feat that Fox accomplished was a run from the east side of Canada to the west to raise awareness for research into rare forms of cancer. This sounds challenging enough, but Terry Fox attempted this after his leg was amputated due to his condition. He ran for 143 days and covered a mindblowing 5373 kilometers, which gave him global recognition.
Rick Hansen – Track & Field Athlete
Rick Hansen is a track and field athlete who found a lot of success at the Olympics, picking up two gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze. This was all achieved between 1980 and 1984. His accomplishments don’t end there, however. Hansen did a lot of philanthropy for those that were considered disabled. Hansen himself suffers from paraplegia after a road traffic accident that he was involved in as a teenager, which resulted in him sustaining a debilitating spinal injury.
He didn’t let the injury define him and went on to win several Olympic medals as a track and field athlete. Another thing Hansen was known for was his Man in Motion World tour, when he wheeled over 40,000 kilometers around the world to raise awareness for those who suffered from disabilities. It was no surprise that in 2006, Hansen was welcomed into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. He currently runs the Rick Hansen Foundation, which continues to do good work to support those who are disabled.
Ferguson Jenkins – Baseball Pitcher
Ferguson Jenkins was born in December of 1942 and was a professional baseball player for 18 years. His career started in 1965 when he played in Major League Baseball (MLB), first playing for the Philadelphia Phillies. He went on to play for a number of different MLB teams throughout his career, including the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox. Remarkably, Jenkins was considered an All-star for three seasons over his career and became the first Canadian to win the Cy Young Award. His talent was unmatched as a 20-game winner for a total of 7 seasons, 6 of which were in a row.
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