Cabbie Richards’s Top Five Toronto Sports Moments of 2016

Although the world lost iconic public figures in 2016, most notably Muhammad Ali, and will be remembered as the year so many of them are gone, there was celebration for historically distraught fanbases. Cleveland saw its first Championship in 52 years and the lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in over a century. In every league, a yearly draft brings another wave of “hope trafficking” and for Toronto’s tortured fanbase, Auston Matthews is a shot of dopamine. From the NBA All Star Weekend to Encarnacion’s bat drop, TSN SportsCentre’s Cabbie Richards dishes on 2016’s top 5 best moments in Toronto sports.

Cabbie Richards

5. Toronto FC’s Eastern Conference win over Montreal to advance to the Final.

When Toronto FC beat Montreal in an epic playoff series in front of 36,000 fans at BMO field, it became the first time a Canadian MLS team advanced to the league final. They ended up losing the MLS Cup Championship to Seattle (in penalty kicks), but the moment was a great accomplishment for the 10 year old franchise.

4. Toronto hosts the NBA All Star Weekend.

This is a first for Toronto. “Six, six, six, six soon as I’m back in the city they throw a parade,” rhymes Drake on “Summer Sixteen”. Although it wasn’t a parade, the unofficial Mayor of Toronto was a huge part of the celebration of the NBA All Star Weekend, even handling the introduction of players for the marquee game. Highlighted by the greatest Slam Dunk contest EVER, an OMFG spectacle between Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon, the personal highlight came when Kobe Bryant, after his final All Star appearance said to me, “you’re at the beginning of what you’re going to be.”

3. Auston Matthews introduces himself to the NHL with a 4 goal debut.

Ever since the collapse in 2011 (Game 7 vs the Bruins in the opening round of the playoffs) and the resulting Hulk sized gut punch, the Toronto Maple Leafs fanbase has had little to pin its hopes to. So when Auston Matthews – superstar rookie scored on the doorstep, from a tough angle, from the slot and on the 2-on-1 in Ottawa in his NHL debut, Toronto lost its collective mind. 4 goals, 1 game, 3 million fist pumps.

2. Toronto Raptors take Lebron James and the Cavs to 6 games in the Eastern Conference Final.

Thousands gathered in Jurassic Park (rain and shine) every game and American audiences caught a glimpse of the rabid Raptor fanbase. “We The North” was the rallying cry and lead by two NBA All Stars in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the 56 win Toronto Raptors were the only Eastern Conference team to beat the Cleveland Cavs in 2016 and they did it twice. Incredible theatre, but ultimately Lebron James was on a date with destiny and the King was crowned with his 3rd NBA title a few weeks later.

1.Edwin Encarnacion’s bat toss in the 1 game playoff vs Baltimore.

Toronto is probably slightly below sea level due to millions jumping in celebration across the GTA, after Edwin Encarnacion’s walkoff 3-run homer during the wild card playoff game against Baltimore in the 11th inning. It was magical. An iconic moment for the Toronto Blue Jays club to be added to the team’s Mount Rushmore.

 

Check out Cabbie Richards on TSN.

 

 

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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography