Canadian sports have been dominated by certain franchises and teams over the years. There are a few franchises that have outshone the rest and have become synonymous with success in Canadian sports. And the best part about it is, they have asserted their dominance south of the border as well.
Canada’s elite franchises mostly ply their trade in the USA’s elite sports leagues. In the NBA, we have the Toronto Raptors. Unfortunately, they have struggled so far in the current season, but they have achieved plenty of success in recent years. Then in the MLS, we have both Toronto FC and CF Montréal.
Toronto FC has made a number of marquee signings in recent years including Italian duo Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernadeschi, who led the Azzurri to European Championship success in 2021. Unfortunately, the club from the capital was disappointing in the MLS last term, but CF Montréal had an impressive campaign, finishing the regular season in third place.
Ice Hockey is Canada’s national sport and this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are flying in the NHL. Online bookmakers such as Bodog, which offers Canada sports betting online, have made the Maple Leaf’s one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup this season alongside the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights. And thus far, they have lived up to the billing, currently sitting in second place in the Atlantic division.
So, with that being said, let’s take a look at some of Canada’s most successful sports franchises.
The Toronto Raptors of the NBA have been one of the most successful franchises in the history of Canadian sports. Between 2013 and 2020, they made the NBA playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, including a franchise-best performance of 59 wins in the 2018-19 season. That season, they became the first team from outside the United States to win an NBA championship.
That season, Canada’s finest ended the hopes of the Golden State Warriors dynasty. They were aiming to become the first franchise since the early 2000s to win three consecutive NBA Championships, however, were beaten in six games by the Raptors.
The Raptors have also had a rich history in development, having developed some of the best players in the game, such as Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, and current star Kawhi Leonard.
Toronto Maple Leafs
In the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs have secured a place in Canadian sports history by being one of the NHL’s most successful franchises. With 13 Stanley Cup Championships, the Leafs are the second-most successful team in the NHL. The Maple Leafs have reached the NHL playoffs in each of the last six seasons and are looking good to make it seven this term.
With such levels of success, it’s unsurprising that the Leafs have a strong fan base and are one of the most valuable franchises in the NHL.
In MLS, Toronto FC is quickly becoming one of the league’s most successful franchises. The team won the Eastern Conference title back in 2017 and made the MLS Cup final both that year and the one prior. In 2016, they lost to compatriots the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS’s first all-Canadian final.
They would get redemption the following year however, once again defeating their compatriots – this time CF Montréal – to lift their maiden MLS Cup. The club has seen its star players, such as Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore, lead the team to success, while they also have one of the most passionate fan bases in North America.
The Montreal Canadiens are arguably the most successful NHL franchise of all time. The Canadiens have by far the most Stanley Cup Championships, having won 24 titles since 1915. The Habs have had a strong history in developing players as well, with Guy Lafluer, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, and Jean Beliveau just some of the names that are associated with the Canadiens.
Montreal ended a 28-year Stanley Cup series drought in 2021. Their most recent success came back in 1993 however, they would have to wait almost three decades for their next finals appearance. Unfortunately, though, it was a heartbreaking experience, losing 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Toronto Blue Jays
Finally, the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB have been one of the top-performing Canadian teams in recent memory. The Blue Jays won the World Series in back-to-back seasons in 1992 and 1993 and were the first Canadian team to do so. The Blue Jays had a strong run to the postseason several years back in 2015 and 2016, but haven’t been able to replicate that success since.
In the NHL, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have also been incredibly successful franchises. The Flames have made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons and were one game away from the Stanley Cup finals in 2004. The Oilers, on the other hand, were one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017 and had a memorable run to the playoffs in 2016.
In the 1980s however, the Oilers were the dominant franchise in the NHL. They lifted five Stanley Cups in seven years between 1983 and 1990.