#5 Raptors get Kawhi Leonard
On July 18, the Raptors were part of a blockbuster trade that saw a fan favourite DeMar DeRozan go, but one of the best defensive players in the game, Kawhi Leonard, join the Raptors. Many Raptors fans were sad to see DeRozan leave, but so far it looks like it has worked out for the best. The Raptors are currently sitting first in the league and with LeBron James leaving the east, there is good chance the Raptors will make it to the NBA finals this year. If the Raptors can take advantage of Leonard, they could have their first-ever NBA championship. If they can’t, then Leonard is an un-restricted free agent next year and may not want to stay with the Raptors. Whatever happens, it was a good chance to take for the Raptors and has resulted in a very exciting 2018-2019 season for them, which is why this trade was a significant Canadian sports moment in 2018.
#4 Leafs Land John Tavares
Similarly to the Kawhi Leonard deal, this was also a significant Canadian sports moment: not only because it involves a Canadian team but also because the player involved is a Canadian as well. John Tavares, one of the most elite centers in the NHL, signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1. Tavares was born in Oakville, Ont. and decided after playing with the New York Islanders for nine years to return home to play for his childhood favourite team. Adding Tavares to an already stacked lineup with players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner gives the Leafs the best offense in the NHL. The Leafs have a good shot at the Stanley Cup now for the first time in 25 years.
#3 Taylor Ruck at the Commonwealth Games
A 17-year–old Canadian set a record at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year. The Canadian swimmer, Taylor Ruck, matched the record for the most medals won at a single Commonwealth Games by any athlete from any sport. Ruck broke the 52-year-old single games record for a Canadian woman with one gold, five silvers and a pair of bronze medals. Her gold medal for the 200-metre freestyle race was both a Canadian and Commonwealth Games record in the finals.
#2 Canadian Skier Mark Arendzat the Paralympic Games
Team Canada had an amazing outing at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic games, ranking third in medals with 28 total. Mark Arendz was one of the highlights for team Canadian as he broke a Canadian record by winning the most medals in a single Paralympic games. He won a gold, silver and bronze in the biathlon, and a silver and bronze in cross-country skiing. Because of his amazing performance, he was honoured as Canada’s flag-bearer for the Games’ closing ceremony.
#1 Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the Olympic Winter Games
Tessa and Scott Moir were already legends in Canada before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic games, but it was there that they became legends throughout the world. After coming out of retirement for an Olympic redemption and carrying the Canada flag in the opening ceremonies, Tessa and Scott did not disappoint. They earned a gold medal in ice dance after breaking their own short dance world record score and achieving a world’s best combined score in the process. Days before, they helped team Canada earn a gold in the team event. With these two gold medals and three more medals from previous Olympics, Tessa and Scott became the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.