As we prepare to close the book on one year it always seem the appropriate time to gaze ahead to the new year which is about to begin.
In terms of sports there are always two types of storylines to watch for; those things we know will happen, and those things we can only hope will.
So what are some things I personally looking forward too?
Well two things revolve around the sport of 15s rugby, which is ultimately my favourite sport of all.
The first big event will be the start of the Major League Rugby season in January where the Toronto Arrows will be taking to the field in their inaugural season in the league, which is itself in its second year.
The Arrows season will begin Jan. 26, on the road in New Orleans taking on the Gold, which happens to be the team Hubert Buydens from Saskatoon plays for. While details of where MLR games will be available in Canada have yet to be released, the date is marked on my sports calendar as a much watch event.
And then next fall there is the World Cup of Rugby to be played in Japan.
Canada had to make a last ditch effort to qualify, but qualify they did, and so they return to the event as they have every year of its existence. They frankly will be in tough to win a game in a pool that includes defending champion New Zealand, perennial powerhouse South Africa, Italy and Namibia. Canada’s first game is Sept. 26, and again it’s must see for me.
Looking ahead to late 2019, Halifax will launch in the National Lacrosse League. I am a huge fan of box lacrosse, more so since the Rush moved to Saskatchewan, so seeing the NLL grow, in particular with a new Canadian franchise is great.
Halifax will be the fifth team in Canada, and could also be something of a ground breaker in setting the stage for further expansion in the years ahead, Edmonton and Montreal seeming the most likely cities.
In other indoor lacrosse news, Canada will be hosting the FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in 2019. The event which will run from Sept. 19 to 28 will be held in Langley, B.C.
Canada is the team to beat in indoor lacrosse, but the Iroquois Nation and United States will have exciting teams too, most players coming out of the NLL for both squads.
There is sure to be an online source for games, making September a huge sports month for me.
And then there is the launch of the Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois.
This is a team that is not likely on many sport’s fans radars at present, but when I found a report on the team online several weeks ago my interest was immediately piqued.
The Wild are a fast pitch (fastball) team which will join the National Pro Fastpitch, the professional softball league based in the United States, with play set to begin in the new year.
The Wild, which will feature members of the Canadian national team, becomes the sixth team set to compete in the 2019 NPF season, joining the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets and USSSA
Now I will admit I don’t watch many women’s’ sports, but I do enjoy fastball, and this league should provide some outstanding action as Softball Canada uses the team to develop for the next Summer Olympics. Canada finished third at the
2018 world championships last August and is ranked third in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
And speaking of new, the Saskatchewan Rattlers will begin play in the new Canadian Elite Basketball League. The first game is scheduled for May for the Saskatoon-based franchise, and should be interesting as the league will play international FIBA rules (40-minute games), with 70 per cent of players being Canadian. I just hope games will be available online.
Well look at that, I haven’t gotten to my wish list this week, so pop back for the Jan. 2, edition as I crystal ball a few of my sporting ‘hopes’ for 2019.