Toronto Sports

Time to be thankful

on October 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

It is that time of year again when after filling our bellies with stuffing and turkey to ponder what we are thankful for. Being healthy and happy usually rise to the top of everyone’s list but in this post, we will take a look at some of things the Toronto sporting world should be thankful for. Here are two of mine.

Toronto Wolfpack

There hasn’t been a team or more specifically a sport that has literally, come out of nowhere to immediately capture the attention of thousands of fans on two separate continents. The Toronto Wolfpack are the first Trans-Atlantic team of any kind and that has put the sport of Rugby League on the world stage. Of course, Toronto did it with their own flair but don’t just take my word for it…

The games might have been lopsided for the most part as Toronto fielded a team well above its Tier 3 opponents, but that made no difference to the howling fans at Lamport stadium. Each home game was more than just a game; it was an event for all concerned and that includes the visiting sides. Yes, there were battles on the field and each player fought for every inch they could, but at the end of the day everyone was enjoying their time together. It was so harmonious that if you removed the rugby ball from the equation you would mistake it for a 1960s love-in. Even off the field the players showed themselves as proper role models by visiting schools, helping out many charities and even being “man” enough to participate in the Pride Parade. It was an all around celebration of life.

Simply put, Saturday afternoons in the summer will never be the same again. So thank you Toronto Wolfpack for creating one of the best sporting atmospheres anyone has ever been a part of. For those that missed out, don’t worry… you can always run with the pack next year.

Tim Leiweke

There are a number of people who might not like the “American arrogance” and brashness that Tim Leiweke displayed during his short time here in Toronto. Quite possibly, I may have been one of those people. So being grateful for Leiweke may have been a little while coming, (considering he hasn’t graced Toronto for sometime) but his presence is still felt today in so many ways.

Who was it that hired Brendan Shanahan, Masai Ujiri and Tim Bezbatchenko as GM or President of the Maple Leafs, Raptors and TFC respectively? That’s right, it was the former President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Now, we are not talking how he helped MLSE financially because quite frankly, who cares. As fans we determine success in only one way… winning.

Yes, there has been a ton of work done by countless number of people since he was here, but the level of play on the ice, on the court and on the field has been exceedingly high… and never all at the same time!

The Toronto Maple Leafs made the playoffs last year and gave the President’s Cup Winner Washington Capitals everything it could handle. This year they are 3-0 averaging over 6 goals a game and fans are super hyped. Everybody laughed at his comment about planning a Stanley Cup parade but if you don’t dream big, you’ll never win big. The Raptors have not only made it to the playoffs for several years in a row, but they also made it to the Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. The “We the North” ad campaign provided this city with the swagger and identity it sorely needed. Finally, TFC was a team that was abysmal on the field its entire existence. It wasn’t until recently that they made the playoffs, and it wasn’t until last year where they were literally a fingertip away from winning the MLS Cup. So yes, I am very grateful to one Timothy J. Leiweke for being the spark that ignited Toronto’s recent sporting success.

There is plenty more to be thankful for as well. If you haven’t already, check out the best local independent wrestling organization in SMASH. The long feud that culminated with the Well Oiled Machines getting back together was the most entertaining wrestling story of the year in any wrestling promotion. Watching Smash is also a great opportunity to see the future of wrestlers as many who performed for SMASH are now on WWE and TNA. There is also the new sport of Arena Soccer to keep an eye on as a Toronto team is coming in 2018, not to mention Team Canada playing in the Arena Soccer World Cup that year as well.

So what did I miss? What should we be thankful for that hasn’t been mentioned yet? That Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov are raising the expectations of Canadian Men’s tennis? That the Blue Jay season is finally over? Sorry, couldn’t resist. Or maybe that Canadian F1 driver Lance Stroll drank champagne from a shoe? Fill out a comment and let me know what you are thankful for.

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