‘Tis the season, and for Canadian sports fans, there will be plenty of reasons to check The Score app or find the nearest TV at your family or friend gathering over the next couple of weeks. Here are our first five of 10 sports events to watch over Christmas.
1. World Juniors on Boxing Day
It wouldn’t be Boxing Day in Canada without some World Junior action. Canada opens the tournament against Russia and I can’t wait to watch. The Canada-Russia rivalry is always entertaining and is sure to be a ratings hit.
This year the tournament is being co-hosted by Toronto and Montreal. Based on stadium size and fan base this edition of the tournament should be one of the most profitable in history. The tournament has always been a key event for TSN and continues to be this year. With Rogers Sportsnet buying the national rights for most hockey broadcasts in Canada, the World Juniors have become a rare opportunity for TSN to outshine their rival when it comes to hockey coverage.
2. Raptors @ Warriors December 28
Circle this game on the calendar folks. Three days after Christmas, the Raps face the league-best Golden State Warriors. This is one of those games that will be a measuring stick for the Raptors and it also presents an opportunity to really grow the Raptor brand in the US. This potential brand building game is possible because everyone who plays Golden State and can challenge them is recognized across the league. While this game is not nationally broadcast in the US (not including NBA TV), if the Raps can have a strong showing and even beat the Warriors, the team could find themselves the talk of the league and considered a serious title contender. This game is perhaps the most important when it comes to generating league-wide profile as a quick look at the NBA’s national broadcast schedule shows that the Raptors only have two game left this season that will be broadcast across the US. The first is a Feb. 24 in New York game against the Knicks on TNT. The second is a Mar. 21 division match-up at home against Chicago.
3. Canadiens @ Penguins December 31
The NHL’s most storied franchise will play the reigning Stanley Cup champions on New Year’s Eve. What a game this should end up being. Right now Pittsburgh is looking as dominant as ever and while the Habs are tops in the Atlantic, they have cooled off since their hot start. Some fans have been commenting that everything is not as it should be in La Belle Province and this could be a game for the Habs to change that sentiment and establish themselves as true contenders. This game is set to receive playoff level broadcast coverage with CBC, CITY, TVAS and ROOT all broadcasting the game on television. One of the biggest games of the year for sure for both sides. That is a common theme around Christmas time; the games don’t get any bigger until April.
4. World Snowboard Tour: El Classico | Dec. 28-29
Snowboard coverage is kind of like swimming coverage: outside of the Olympics it hardly ever shows up in prime time. That being said, it is one of the most technical and awe inspiring sports you can watch. We’re including this event in our list because Canadian’s have been dominant in slopestyle events this year. On the men’s side, the top three are all from Canada and led by the Saskatchewan born high-flyer Mark McMorris. As for women, Vancouver product Spencer O’Brien is currently third in the points. Check out the World Snowboard Tour Facebook page to see find streaming options once we get a bit closer to the event.
5. Cowboys @ Eagles January 1
Christmas vacation is the point in the season when the NFL gets very interesting. Park yourself next to the guacamole and enjoy this New Year’s Day tilt between the Cowboys and Eagles. The game could be a blowout since the Eagles are collapsing but you should check it out anyway if you are a Cowboys fan or enjoy seeing Canadian boys doing well in the NFL. The Cowboys feature Montreal-born long snapper Louis-Philippe Ladouceur who has been perfect on all of his professional snaps and has never missed a game in his career with the Cowboys. Another Canadian on the team is Defensive End Tyrone Crawford. Crawford is from Windsor and is a key part of the Cowboys defensive line. Watch the game and cheer on these Canadian boys!