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Raptors, Andreescu: Canadian sports are in a good place

Last Updated Sep 9, 2019 at 11:30 am PDT

FILE - Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, holds up the championship trophy after defeating Serena Williams, of the United States, in the women's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Toronto Raptors, Bianca Andreescu leading the way for new generation of athletes to be cheered on in Canada

Canadian athletes expected to dominate certain sports, but recent wins mean they can add tennis, basketball to the list

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s expected Canadian athletes dominate certain sports: hockey is one, curling is another and now it looks like we can add basketball and tennis to that growing list.

Following wins that captured a nation, both the Toronto Raptors and now 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu are leading the way for a new generation of athletes to be looked up to and to cheer on in this country.

“We asked people on Sportsnet 650 what’s been the bigger story the Toronto Raptors or Bianca Andreescu winning the US Open and it has been a 50/50 split,” explains Perry Solkowski with our sister station Sportsnet 650. “I’m surprised at that, but what has been great — and we have it with Brooke Henderson in golf — there are now these weekend sports that now we have people who are on top of the world or can win these championships. So, I think this is probably as healthy as Canadian sports have been on the whole.”

It didn’t take much to get Canadians riled up.

“Women lead the way. It’s all about the women. We’re the most powerful when it comes to the Olympics — it’s the females that lead the way,” Solkowski notes. “Brooke Henderson leads the way. But a championship that we have never enjoyed a Canadian getting to the top of the podium in a global sport where Bianca Andreescu could be one of the most recognizable Canadians around the world when it comes to sports if she continues this way.”

Some may say, well, men’s hockey has almost always been dominate given back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics, but Solkowski says, they’re supposed to. This is different.

“When it comes to hockey, I think it’s a separate category because any time there’s a global tournament involving hockey with Canada’s best, and sometimes not our best, we’re expected to be there,” he explains.

“We’re not expected to be on top of the LPGA. We’re not expected to have guys, like local products like Adam Hadwin fighting it out for PGA championships and we’re not expected to be hanging out in world tennis tournaments — it just hasn’t happened. We’ve got a young generation of Canadians and I think it’s a little bit going back to 2010 in Vancouver when we decided as Canadians we’re going to ‘Own the Podium.’ We want to be the best, not just, ‘Oh, this was my personal best.’ No, we want to be the best in the world and now, here we are nine years later and some of these young kids are doing exactly that.”

So, is the Stanley Cup next? Could a parade be happening soon on soil north of the border?

“Here in Vancouver, we’d hate to see it, but there’s a good hockey team in Toronto. Maybe the Cup is coming back. Winnipeg is good. Calgary would be good. Put it this way, we’ve been so poor as a nation with the NHL teams on the downward trend, I think they’re all starting to rise and Vancouver is certainly part of that too. We’ve waited since 1993 which is crazy, I think the Stanley Cup rightfully will return to this country sooner rather than later. We’re due. We’re overdue.”