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Luke Garrison: Sports & Casino Author from Canada

Sports & Casino: Luke Garrison

Luke Garrison is a professional writer who grew up just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He currently works at the Canadian Press and enjoys the outdoors in his free time.

A small percentage of players within the NBA, MLB, and NFL are Canadian, but there are still some noteworthy stars such as 2023 NBA Champion Jamal Murray of Mississauga, ON. Canada is also well-represented in many other sports including soccer, golf, tennis, and swimming. Keep reading to learn about some of the best Canadian athletes, and where you can watch them compete in 2024.

Masters Tournament

Many Canadians enjoy watching the Masters Tournament. Like the Super Bowl, it’s an event big enough to transcend the sporting world – meaning it’s the only golf most Canadians will watch, if any at all. This year, the festivities will be held from April 11-14 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Past Masters tournaments have kept Canadians on the edge of their seats, with Mike Weir donning the ‘Green Jacket’ (given to the winner) back in 2003. This is the only time a Canadian golfer has ever won a major tournament, which includes the Masters Tournament, the PGA Championship, the Open Championship, and the U.S. Open.

That said, there are a couple of Canadian golfers having great years with a lot to prove. Adam Hadwin of Moose Jaw, Alberta is set to appear in his fourth Masters – his first since 2020. He has three top-six finishes in 2024, and his best finish at the Masters came in 2018 – where he finished tied for 24th.

Another golfer to watch is Nick Taylor of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The final day of this year’s tournament (April 14th) is Taylor’s 36th birthday, and the respected veteran will be looking to get himself the sweetest gift of all. It will be Taylor’s second Masters appearance, with his first coming in 2020 when he finished tied for 29th.

Many Canadians will remember Taylor from last year’s Canadian Open, when he drained a 72-foot eagle putt to win it all during a nail-biting playoff against Tommy Fleetwood. It was the first time a Canadian had won a national open on home soil since Pat Fletcher last did it in 1954. Can he pull off that same magic at Augusta?

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs are always centre stage north of the border, and 2024 will be no different. This season has been a special one for both Canadian teams and Canadian players. Markham, Ontario’s Mitch Marner has been leading the Toronto Maple Leafs in the East, while Connor McDavid hopes to captain the Edmonton Oilers to a Stanley Cup in the West.

McDavid is on pace to record 100 or more assists, which hasn’t been done since Wayne Gretzky had 122 assists during the 1990-1991 season – which was incredibly his 10th consecutive season with 100+ assists. McDavid’s linemate Zach Hyman of Toronto, Ontario has been making some history of his own, becoming one of the oldest players (age 31) to ever score 50 goals in a season for the first time.

In the East, Marner and the Leafs also have Stanley Cup aspirations. The 26-year-old winger was well on his way to eclipsing 100 points for the first time in his career before being sidelined by an ankle sprain. The 100-point threshold has been an elusive one for Marner, who had 99 points last year and point totals of 97 and 94 in other previous seasons. Nothing a Stanley Cup can’t fix!

The NHL playoffs are set to begin on Monday April 22nd, 2024, with another pair of Canadian teams set to compete for a championship as well – the Vancouver Canucks and the Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks comfortably sit atop the Pacific Division, but the second-place Oilers still have an outside shot of catching them.

The Jets sit third in the Central Division, which is more a testament to the division’s strength than it is an indictment of Winnipeg’s talent. In the Pacific, the Jets would be closer to the Canucks than the Oilers. The last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup was the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. Will this be the year the drought is broken?

NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are more popular in Canada when the Toronto Raptors are a part of the picture; however, that isn’t the case this year. On the other hand, there are some Canadian players on American teams that are gearing up for a shot at the title.

As previously mentioned, Canadian point guard Jamal Murray was a key cog in helping the Denver Nuggets win the 2023 NBA Championship. This year has been business as usual for the 27-year-old, who has been a large part of why the Nuggets have spent most of this year atop the Western Conference. A championship repeat is certainly not out of the question.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been neck-and-neck with Denver in the standings all season long, thanks to their own point guard from Ontario in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) of Hamilton, Ontario. Like Murray, SGA is a product of the Kentucky basketball program and has been an absolute force over the last handful of seasons.

Still just 25 years old, SGA naturally has a bright future with the Thunder (or wherever he decides to play). Can he bring OKC their first championship since 1979?


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