With hockey always tending to dominate when it comes to sport in Canada, it can sometimes be difficult for stars from other sports to break through into the public’s general consciousness.
However, all that is beginning to change, especially where female professional athletes are concerned, many of whom are blazing a trail both domestically and on the world scene. Here we take a look at just some of the Canadian women sports trail blazers, whose respective stars are only set to rise in the months and years ahead.
Leylah Fernandez – US Open Finalist
It is fair to say that women’s Canadian tennis is flying at the moment, especially after the US Open 2021 where Leylah Fernandez made a mockery of the seeding system at Flushing Meadows to meet fellow teenager Emma Raducanu in the final.
In the end it was the young Brit who won out and claimed her maiden grand slam title, but Fernandez announced herself as one of the premier players on tour, combining stunning ground strokes with court coverage that belies her years. There is no doubt that she will be a top 10 ranked player soon enough and that more grand slam final appearances are on the horizon.
Bianca Andreescu – A Big Hitter in the Tennis World
At just the age of 21 this Ontario native already has an US Open under her belt and has made relatively deep runs at all the other majors too. She currently sits just inside the world’s top 20 and will be gunning to try and rise up the odds line by hitting the top 10 by year’s end. She narrowly fell to the talented Greek Maria Sakkari at the 2021 US Open but is undoubtedly still considered by top online sportsbooks in Canada as a huge grand slam threat, especially at events that take place on hard courts.
One thing that is for sure is that Andreescu has come into the women’s game at just the right time, with Serena Williams on the wane and a fresh generation of exciting young players breaking through. It will be interesting to see if she can upset the sportsbooks by downing the stars of the moment Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez.
The sky is the limit for Andreescu and Fernandez, who are major threats to any top WTA player at hard court tour tournaments and grand slam events.
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Kia Nurse – A True Baller
At age 25 Kia Nurse is already the star attraction in the Canadian women’s national basketball team and led the side which narrowly failed to escape the group phases at Tokyo 2020.
She will quickly put that disappointment behind her by starting a fresh chapter at WNBA powerhouses Phoenix Mercury after she established herself as a WNBA All-Star with the New York Liberty.
Kia Nurse is leading the charge for female Canadian basketball players everywhere
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Jordyn Huitema – Heir to the Canadian Soccer Throne
When it comes to Canadian women’s soccer there is usually only one name worth mentioning: that of record goal scorer Christine Sinclair. However, with Sinclair reaching the twilight years of her stellar career, there is now a new queen in town, who goes by the name of Jordyn Huitema.
The two women combined to deadly effect at the 2020 Olympics, beating the heavy betting favourites USA, to then go on and claim gold. Huitema was part of the attacking line that made it all possible. This was all on the back of her spearheading PSG’s charge to their first ever Division 1 Féminine title in France. To add to her star power, she is also in a relationship with Bayern Munich and Canadian national team player Alphonso Davies.
Penny Oleksiak – A Veritable Fish
When talking about Penny Oleksiak there is no need to mention gender, because she has made a habit of just being the best at what she does, period, including being the greatest Olympic athlete to have ever represented Canada.
She achieved that feat by claiming seven Olympic medals, a haul which included three she won at Tokyo 2020 and a cherished gold she snapped up in the 100m freestyle at Rio 2016. It is unclear whether she will have enough in the tank to appear at yet another Olympics, but if she does make it to Paris 2024 then she will be well fancied to add to her already impressive medal collection.
Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan
Together Humana-Paredes and Pavan have become the greatest women’s beach volleyball duo ever in Canadian history, having been crowned world champs in 2019. They fell to a devastating quarterfinal defeat at Tokyo 2020 but are still a genuine force to be reckoned with.