How will Canada do at the Rio Olympics? Will the Toronto Blue Jays return to the playoffs? Will the World Cup of Hockey be a hit or a bust?
Those are just some of the questions ahead of another busy year on the Canadian sports calendar. Here’s a look at 10 stories to watch in 2016:
There is a new president, new general manager and there will be some new players on the 2016 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Expectations are high for a team that is built to win now and is coming off its first post-season appearance in 22 years.
President Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins will be under pressure to help guide the team back to the playoffs.
Manager John Gibbons will be back and the team’s offence should be just as powerful as last season.
If the new front office can effectively plug the holes on the pitching staff, the Blue Jays should be contenders once again.
Eugenie Bouchard would like nothing more than to forget about her dismal 2015 season.
She couldn’t follow up on her stellar 2014 campaign, with a string of early losses sending her tumbling down the world rankings over the last year.
Bouchard also suffered a head injury after falling in the locker-room at the U.S. Open and was sidelined for the rest of the season.
The 21-year-old Canadian will have tougher draws on the WTA Tour until she shows signs of improvement.
These are interesting times for Canadian amateur sport.
Carla Qualtrough is the new Minister of Sport and Tricia Smith is the new president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
The Canadian team won just one gold medal at the 2012 Summer Games and bigger things will be expected this summer in Rio.
Canada is expected to send a deeper roster to the 2016 Olympics, anchored by a strong track and field team that’s coming off a breakout performance at the world championship.
Trampolinist Rosie MacLennan won the lone gold in 2012. Canada added five silver and 12 bronze medals at the London Games.
The World Cup of Hockey makes its return in 2016 after a 12-year absence.
In addition to the usual top countries, the tournament will feature a Team Europe (European players from countries outside Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic) along with a Team North America entry with players 23 and under.
The latter change could create the unusual situation of young Canadian stars playing against their native country on home ice.
Toronto’s Air Canada Centre will host the tournament from Sept. 17-Oct. 1.
WHEELS IN MOTION
Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe plans a return to full-time auto racing this season after suffering serious injuries in a crash during an Indianapolis 500 practice session last May.
A piece of his car’s broken suspension pierced his left leg and caused significant blood loss.
The IndyCar racer returned to the cockpit for test sessions last September.
He’ll be entering his sixth season in the open-wheel series.
BOATMEN AT BMO
The Toronto Argonauts played only a handful of real home games last season.
The Pan Am Games forced the Argos to play their first five games on the road, including a so-called home opener in Fort McMurray, Alta.
The Blue Jays’ playoff run forced the CFL team out of Rogers Centre again later in the season, with the Argos playing home dates in Hamilton and Ottawa.
The football club moves down the road to the more intimate BMO Field in 2016. Toronto will also host the Grey Cup in the fall.
Quebec City has been without an NHL team since the Nordiques left in 1995 to become the Colorado Avalanche.
The new Videotron Centre hosted a pre-season game last September and Quebecor has made its expansion pitch to the NHL’s executive committee.
However, the timetable for the expansion process — if the league decides to add teams at all — is unclear.
Las Vegas has also expressed an interest in an expansion club.
Milos Raonic has seven career ATP Tour singles titles on his resume. He’s still looking to break through at a Grand Slam.
The 25-year-old Canadian is entering his prime and will be looking to win that elusive major title this season.
Raonic was hampered by back and foot injuries in 2015 but still managed to reach a career-high No. 4 in the world rankings.
He’ll enter the 2016 campaign just outside the top 10. If he can stay healthy this season, it could be the year he makes his move.
The Toronto Raptors have reached the second round of the NBA playoffs on just one occasion in their 20-year history.
The reigning Atlantic Division champions will be looking to clear that first-round hurdle this spring for the first time since 2001.
The Eastern Conference is stronger this season but the Raptors are still the favourites to win the division.
In addition, Toronto’s Air Canada Centre will host the NBA all-star game for the first time in February.
Brad Gushue has emerged as the skip to beat this season on the Canadian men’s curling scene.
The 2006 Olympic champion has a healthy lead on Kevin Koe in the Canadian Team Ranking System. Gushue won The National in November and reached the final at the recent Canadian Open.
He’s hoping to continue his strong play in 2016 as he aims to win the Tim Hortons Brier for the first time.
Rachel Homan is the top-ranked team on the women’s CTRS list. Reigning national champion Jennifer Jones is second.