Canada’s breakout sports stars of 2022 to keep an eye out for in the future
CONNOR BEDARD, HOCKEY
The 17-year-old, who is expected to be the top pick of the 2023 NHL draft, burst onto the scene in the 2021-22 season while playing for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats. After opening the 2021 stretch of the season with 24 points in 24 games, Bedard had an impressive 76 points in 38 games to finish the season with 51 goals and 49 assists. He also helped Canada win gold at the 2022 World Junior Championships, contributing eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games. Since then, Bedard has only upped his game with 27 goals and 64 points in 28 WHL games this season. He will help Canada defend their title at the 2023 World Junior Championships.
BENNEDICT MATHURIN, BASKETBALL
The Montreal native made a quantum leap up the college ranks after a solid 2020-21 freshman season at the University of Arizona, where he was named to the Pac-12 All Freshman team. In 2021-22, Mathurin increased his point average from 10.8 to 17.7 en route to being named Pac-12 Player of the Year, second All-American team, and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, which honors the is awarded to most outstanding college basketball players. Mathurin was drafted sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers in last summer’s NBA draft and was among the top rookies in the league averaging 17.2 points per game.
CAMRYN ROGERS, HAMMER THROW
After a fifth-place finish at the Tokyo Games and a third straight NCAA title, Rogers continued to put her name in the history books in 2022. ever a Canadian to win a world championship medal at a field event in July, winning silver. Shortly after, she added a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. With the Canadian and NCAA records in hand, Rogers is entering her senior year at the University of California, Berkeley. And with another World Cup coming up next summer, she might need room at home for more hardware.
MIA VALLEE, DIVING
With Diving Canada expecting to go through a transition period after a few retirements, Vallée came through as the next potential star. The University of Miami star made a splash in 2022, winning two Grand Prix medals before taking home two more (one silver, one bronze) at her first World Championships. A native of Beaconsfield, Que., Vallée followed with three medals at the Commonwealth Games, highlighted by gold in the one meter springboard event. She will look to cement her place among the world’s best at the 2023 World Swimming Championships in July ahead of Paris 2024.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 24, 2022.
Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press