It’s that time of year, so here’s Good Game’s Top 10 Sports Newsmakers for 2011. Discuss amongst yourselves.
1. Keith Pelley, Rogers Media: Aggressive upgrades in personnel & branding for Sportsnet in pursuit of his goal to be Canada’s premier sports media brand. Rogers purchase of MLSE won’t hurt the cause.
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Pens: The world’s greatest player sits out 10 months with concussion symptoms, bringing the issue firmly into the mainstream.
3. Chris Rudge, CEO, Grey Cup 2012: Ex-Canadian Olympic Committee head is tapped by CFL/Toronto Argonauts to bring relevancy to 100th Grey Cup in Toronto.
4. Brendan Shanahan, NHL: “Shanny” brings renewed vitality, video and a steady hand to the lead disciplinarian role for the National Hockey League.
5. Milos Raonic, Tennis: A breakout year for the hard-serving Canadian, winning a number of tournaments before being sidelined with injury. At #31, he’s the highest ranking of any Canadian singles player in decades.
6. George St. Pierre, Fighter, UFC: GSP is mixed martial arts in Canada, driving a complete sell-out for first ever event in Ontario at Rogers Centre. A serious knee injury has founder Dana White & President Tom Wright a touch nervous.
7. Alex Anthopoulos, GM, Toronto Blue Jays: Terrific early season trades (Wells) free up salary. New MLB wildcard spot & emergence of young talent put Jays on verge of playoffs. Playoffs?!
8. Brett Lawrie, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays: BC-bred, super talented and wildly enthusiastic, Lawrie’s infectious love for the game wears off on teammates.
9. Paul Bissonnette, F, Phoenix Coyotes: Quickly forging a social media persona for all pro athletes to emulate. Over 195,000 twitter followers @BizNasty2point0. Awesome fun.
10. Ian Troop, CEO, PanAm Games 2015: With Mexico finished, the pressure starts to mount on Toronto. Mr. Troop faces challenge to make Games relevant to locals.
Did we miss someone we shouldn’t have?