ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Steve Nash: Transformed Suns into playoff contenders.
First Canadian to win NBA MVP award.
RUNNERS-UP Jason Bay: Pittsburgh Pirates slugger followed
up his rookie-of-the-year campaign with another fine season. Among
the NL leaders in average, hits, runs and doubles.
Christine Sinclair: Canada's top women's soccer
player led the University of Portland to a U.S. college championship.
She scored an NCAA-record 39 goals this season.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS Tyler Christopher: Took bronze in the 400 metres
at track and field's world championships. It was Canada's only
Cindy Klassen: Winnipeg speed skater set new
world records in the 3,000 and 1,500 m.
Benoit Huot: The world's top male Paralympic
swimmer. Won gold and silver at the Paralympic Cup, named world's
Paralympian of the Year.
Brittany Reimer: Established herself as one of
the world’s best middle- and long-distance freestyle swimmers.
Won two medals at the worlds in Montreal.
Alexandre Despatie: Won two gold medals at aquatic
worlds, climbing back to the top after Athens disappointment.
TEAM OF THE YEAR London
Knights: Started the the season with 31-game unbeaten
streak, a Canadian Hockey League record. Finished with 59 wins,
16-2 playoff record and its first-ever Memorial Cup. More
on the Knights
RUNNERS-UP Canada's junior men's hockey: , Maybe Canada's
best junior squad ever. The Canucks dominated opponents, never trailing
en route to the title.
Edmonton Eskimos: Overcame adversity,
a quarterback controversy, and a rookie coach's inexperience to
win one of the greatest Grey Cup games in CFL history.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS Chicago White Sox: Won their first World Series
Liverpool: Won the European Champions League title.
Chelsea: Won its first English soccer crown since
Ottawa Senators: Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson
are thriving in the new-look NHL.
Randy Ferbey, David Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer Marcel Rocque:
Alberta foursome won the Brier and followed up with a win at the
Andre Agassi vs Jason Blake in
U.S. Open marathon: The 35-year-old Agassi rallies from
a two-set deficit to knock off Blake in a fifth set tiebreaker.
The three-hour quarter-final match ended at 1:15 a.m. ET.
Alexander Ovechkin vs Sidney Crosby: Crosby's Penguins
won on the score sheet, but both players showed off their highlight-reel
skills. Ovechkin was thwarted on a couple of spectacular dashes
to the net. Crosby's no-look spin-a-rama setup of Zigmund Palffy's
winner is one for the ages.
Liverpool stuns AC Milan: Liverpool recovered from a seemingly
insurmountable 3-0 halftime deficit to knock off Italian power AC
Milan in the final of the European Champions League.
Greatest Grey Cup ever? What started as a tight,
defensive affair in the first half turned into a thrill-a-minute
contest over the final two quarters. Lead changes, big turnovers,
clutch catches, crushing blows. It went into the books as a 38-35
Eskimos win over the Montreal Alouettes.
Jennifer Jones shows her Heart: Jones's Manitoba
rink scored an improbable four points with a clutch final shot in
the 10th end to notch an 8-6 win over Ontario's Jenn Hanna at the
Hearts. CBC Sports curling analyst Mike Harris called Jones's hit-and-
roll the best game-winning shot he'd ever seen.
Tiger triumphs at the Masters: Tiger Woods held
off Chris DiMarco to win his fourth Masters' Green Jacket. The two
golfers battled throughout the event's final round, with Woods eventually
winning the title in a playoff. "[DiMarco] has got no back-off in
him. He'll come at you," explained an overjoyed Woods afterward.
Corrales and Castillo wage war inside a phone booth:
The brawl between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo was boxing's
fight of the year in 2005. The two lightweights battled at close
range for nine rounds with little regard for defence or safety.
In the 10th round, Corrales went down twice before ending the fight
with a flurry that left Castillo out on his feet.
Afleet Alex averts disaster: Afleet Alex pulled
off one of the most remarkable recoveries in thoroughbred history
this year. Alex was in a footrace with Scrappy T coming into the
final stretch of the Preakness. As the race turned for home, the
two horses clipped heels, almost sending Alex into the dirt. But
instead of falling, the three-year-old colt righted himself and
cruised to victory.
1. NHL cancels season; revamped
game returns in October to rave reviews
Feb. 14, 2005 the National Hockey League made history. In
the worst possible way.
After months of mostly acrimonious negotiations, the NHL's
braintrust concluded a solution to its protracted labour dispute
with the games' players couldn't be reached in time to save
a hockey season that already had lost thousands of games.
"I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation
of play for 2004-05," said an apologetic NHL commissioner,
Gary Bettman that day in New York.
And so the NHL suffered the indignity of becoming the first
of North America's four major professional sports leagues
to lose an entire regular season because of a labour dispute.
It also meant that for the first time since 1919 the Stanley
Cup the NHL's championship trophy would not be
It took nearly five more months for owners and players to
strike a deal. It was widely accepted that the owners benefited
most from the new collective bargaining agreement, which extracted
a 25-per-cent pay cut from the players and included salary
Players finally returned to the ice in early October to a
game transformed. The NHL adopted a handful of offence-friendly
rules in an effort to eliminate the boring defensive play
that has plagued the game for the past decade.
Canadian basketball star Steve Nash was everywhere
His visage graced sports pages and fashion magazine covers.
His comings and goings were monitored as if he was a pop-music
star. His highlight-reel passes and clutch shots were staples
on every television sports show.
He was dubbed the "Slam-dunk hunk," "Hair Canada," "Hoser
Hoopster," and, by the end of the basketball season, "Most
It marked the first time a Canadian had won the prestigious
award and only the second time in the last 40 years a point
guard had been named NBA MVP.
Nash's name will now go into the NBA's history books beside
legends like Magic Johnson and the only other non-American
winner, Hakeem Olajuwon.
"It's incredible," said the affable and unassuming Nash when
asked about the exclusive company he was joining. "I'm there
with my heroes."
But the truth is no baller was more deserving of the honour
last season than the six-foot-three-inch playmaker from Victoria,
Nash didn't put up gaudy scoring numbers, but he led the resurrection
of a Phoenix Suns squad that was among the league's worst
a year earlier.
Like Wayne Gretzky in hockey, Nash is all about passing. He
makes his teammates better ball players. Before Nash, the
Suns were an abysmal 29-53. After Nash they boasted a league-best
Enough said? Wait, there's more.
Paced by their unselfish catalyst, the Suns played an up-tempo
style and blew opponents away with their offence. Phoenix
averaged 110 points per game, the most in the league in the
past decade, and Nash led the league with 11.5 assists per
"[Nash] is the motor, explained Suns forward Amare Stoudemire.
"He has the ball in his hands 80 per cent of the time, and
a guy like [Nash], he gets everyone involved."
This year the NHL draft lottery was known by
a different name The Sidney Crosby Sweepskates.
It was a no-brainer that the winner of the lottery would select
the fresh-faced 18-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S., who had
led the Rimouski Oceanic to the Memorial Cup final while racking
up 303 regular season points in two years with the team.
Crosby's passing ability, quick release, and uncanny hockey
sense were just some of the on-ice reasons, while his potential
to transcend the game had general managers and owners around
the league salivating.
Throw in a lottery design where each team's chance was more
than just in name only, and you had the makings of genuine
With just ten teams left in the lottery, it appeared that
Crosby could be plying his trade professionally on Canadian
soil. However, Vancouver and Ottawa were eliminated when the
next two envelopes were drawn.
Montreal, the team that drafted father Troy Crosby in 1984,
was the fifth-last and final Canadian team to lose out.
It came down to the Mighty Ducks and Penguins, with Mario
Lemieux ultimately gaining a new teammate and heir apparent
Crosby has been as good as billed in his rookie campaign,
but by year's end, it was starting to appear that even Sid
and Mario might not be able to save the franchise, which has
been unable to work out a deal on a new arena with state and
If so, he could find himself on the move by his third season,
selling the game in a hockey hotbed such as Kansas City or
As the new year began, Canadian junior hockey observers wondered just what the London Knights would do for an encore.
The team had ended 2004 by establishing a new CHL record with a 31-game unbeaten streak, which was eventually halted in December.
It soon became apparent that London would not be resting on its laurels. This was a team built for a championship, with a bevy of final-year players and a berth as host of the Memorial Cup awaiting.
The rare occasions when the team lost were inevitably followed by other lengthy winning streaks. With NHL hockey removed from the landscape, the bandwagon had plenty of room as it gathered steam.
The team was virtually unbeatable at John Labatt Centre, recording a 31-1-2 record at home.
The regular season dominance resulted in Dylan Hunter, Corey Perry, Danny Syvret and coach Dale Hunter all made the OHL's first all-star team.
If a two-game losing skid to end the season gave potential playoff opponents cause for hope, they were quickly proven wrong. London rolled through Guelph and Windsor en route to a nine-game streak to open the playoffs.
Kitchener and Ottawa gave some resistance, but could only last five games as the Knights won the club's first OHL title.
The team went unbeaten in the Memorial Cup, winning all five games by a combined score of 25-11. The pairing of the Knights and the Sidney Crosby-led Rimouski Oceanic in the final generated the highest-rated television audience for a Canadian junior game, peaking at over one million viewers.
The mission had been accomplished. Including regular season
and playoffs, London went 79-9-2.
The city was reluctant to see the good feeling end. About 15,000 people attended a parade on June 1st to celebrate the first Memorial Cup championship in the franchise's forty-year history.
To call Canada's first world
junior men's hockey championship since 1997 emphatic may be
Team Canada went undefeated in six games, hammering Russia
6-1 in the final at Grand Forks, N.D. The squad, which may
go down as the best ever assembled, outscored its opponents
41-7 in the tournament.
The NHL lockout was a boon for coach Brent Sutter and management.
There was no wrangling with pro clubs over players, with several
who would have otherwise been vying for the Calder Trophy
able to suit up in red and white.
The team featured 12 holdovers from the previous year, a team
that lost in a third-period heartbreaker against the United
States to earn Canada's third consecutive silver medal.
In addition, Patrice Bergeron was eligible, despite having
played the previous season with the Boston Bruins. Bergeron
would go on to take the scoring title (five goals, 13 points)
and most valuable player honours. Ryan Getzlaf and Jeff Carter
had one goal and two assists apiece for Canada in the final
game. Bergeron, Danny Syvret, Andrew Stewart and Dion Phaneuf
Jeff Glass won five games in net for Canada, topping all goaltenders
with a 1.40 goals-against average.
It was a team that could also prove to have the most pro success
of any Canadian group.
Several players are already paying immediate dividends in
the NHL. While the strong first-year play of Phaneuf and Sidney
Crosby was expected, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Brent Seabrook
and Andrew Ladd have all made solid contributions to their
All in all, a mighty tough act to follow for future Canadian
It wasn't the players' ever-expanding arms or the mounting home run totals that got baseball to crack down on steroids users.
Instead, it was a controversial tell-all book by a former slugger, coupled with the threat of American government intervention, that forced Major League Baseball to act in 2005.
Before that, baseball had no real steroid policy. And that's despite allegations by convicted steroid distributor Victor Conte that drug use was rampant, as well as hinted admissions of steroid use by Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds, two of the game's top batters.
In February, Jose Canseco, who clubbed 462 home runs during his career, released a book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big," which alleged several high-profile players used steroids.
Canseco's targets players like Rafael Palmeiro and retired home-run champion Mark McGwire dismissed the claims, saying the oft-controversial slugger was creating the scandal to sell books.
But with evidence mounting and fan cynicism toward players growing, commissioner Bud Selig decided something had to be done. In March, baseball put a new steroid policy in place.
The policy was tougher. According to some, though, not tough enough.
Congress wasn't impressed, and called Selig and a handful of the game's biggest stars to Washington to answer questions.
Canseco, McGwire, Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas joined Selig at a hearing into baseball's "efforts to eradicate steroid use."
Schilling claimed the problem was overstated. Sosa and Palmeiro denied using drugs, with Palmeiro the most emphatic of all. McGwire refused to say anything. Selig and union boss Donald Fehr tried to reassure Congress that they were taking care of things.
The politicians weren't satisfied. Senator McCain argued Major League Baseball "can't be trusted," and warned legislation might be needed to force the sport to change its steroids policy.
All told, 12 players failed drug tests. Most were marginal major leaguers. Palmeiro, who made highlight reels with his steroid denial, was by far the most noteworthy name caught in the drug dragnet.
He was slapped with a 10-day suspension just weeks after becoming just the fourth player ever to reach the 3,000-hit and 500-homer plateau. The failed test cast doubts on what was previously a stellar and unblemished career.
In November, baseball ramped up its penalties for steroid abuse. The new plan a first failed drug test will net a player a 50-game suspension without pay. A second positive test will earn a 100-game suspension. A third will get a lifetime ban.
Whether intended or not, one of the consequences
of the NHL lockout was the fracturing of the players' union.
Shortly after a deal was reached, Bob Goodenow, who presided
over more than a decade of financial prosperity, resigned
some say fired as head of the NHLPA.
Goodenow's long-serving right-hand man, Ted Saskin, was promoted
to the post, to the chagrin of nearly 100 players who believe
his leadership illegitimate.
Led by the likes of Trent Klatt and Chris Chelios a group
of dissident players are furious Saskin was appointed rather
than "democratically" elected by the NHLPA's membership. They
also accused Saskin of circumventing the union's constitution
in order hold on to his $2.1-million –a-year job.
"He's not welcome here," stated Chelios when asked if Saskin
could enter the Detroit Red Wings locker room.
"He should resign, as far as I'm concerned, after what's transpired
over the past three months," added Chelios. "We need a new
leadership, they've proved that over the past three months."
Observers also speculate the dissident players' anger is being
by fuelled by resentment over how the NHL's lockout was resolved.
The new collective bargaining agreement, negotiated by Saskin,
is seen to favour the owners.
In an effort to quell the controversy, Saskin ordered a team-by-team
secret vote on his leadership. Sept. 12. The results showed
that 85 per cent of the union's membership supported Saskin.
But several teams have refused to even vote, arguing the entire
process contravenes NHLPA bylaws.
"This is a credibility issue," agent Mike Liut recently told
the Toronto Star. "This has not been an objective search for
an executive director. It doesn't pass the smell test, and
when Ted says he has 85 per cent support, I just don't believe
"There are 10 teams that refused to vote on [Saskin's] hiring,
or voted 'no,' so there's 200 players right there."
How did Tiger Woods rebound from one of his worst seasons on the PGA Tour?
He got married and then changed his swing.
Woods wed Swedish model Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5, 2004, and three months later began a quest to regain his world No. 1 ranking from Vijay Singh.
With a revamped swing, Woods opened the 2005 season with four rounds in the 60s on the way to a third-place showing at the Mercedes Championships.
Two weeks later, the 29-year-old won the Buick Invitational to snap a 15-month winless drought in a stroke-play event.
Another victory at the Ford Championship at Doral set the stage for the first major of the season, The Masters.
With the green jacket on the line, Woods outduelled his Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teammate Chris DiMarco in a playoff for his third win of the season.
He also regained top spot in the world rankings and avoided matching Jack Nicklaus's 0-for-12 streak in majors.
Woods missed the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship on May 15 before stringing together four top-five finishes, including the U.S. Open and British Open championships, achieving the latter two days after Nicklaus walked off the St. Andrews course and away from competitive golf for good.
At the season's final major, the nine-year pro finished in a share for fourth place behind winner Phil Mickelson.
Woods closed out the season with a second-place effort at the Tour Championship, giving him six wins among his 13 top-five finishes. He also won the money title, finishing more than $2.6 million US ahead of Singh.