The greatest aspect of sport is its inherent unpredictability which means nobody quite knows how things will turn out. However, here are five sport predictions for Canada in 2022 that all have a credible shot of coming off, with some more probable than others. Whether you're into high speed motorsport, the MLS and World Cup, or the Winter Olympics, there's a lot happening next year, and here's how it might go down.
First up on our sport prediction list for 2022 is the MLS (Major League Soccer) which is the newest of the major league sports that dominate the North American nations of Canada and the United States and, as with the others, the vast majority of competing teams are from the southern country (25 US, with three from Canada). However, teams from Canada have achieved substantial success in other major leagues, notably the dominance of teams from Montreal and Toronto (the country's biggest city) when it comes to racking up Stanley Cup victories, and the back-to-back World Series triumphs of the Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB. In the 2021 MLS season, the Vancouver Whitecaps finished 12th in the table, but that does neglect just how close the contest was, as five teams were covered by just two points. Qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League would have taken another 11 points, but that is not an insurmountable obstacle. The question is whether it will be climbed in the coming year.
Vancouver's team was founded in 2009 and joined the MLS in 2011. The very next year the team became the first from Canada to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, beating the pundits' sport predictions. The Whitecaps have also appeared twice before in the Champions League, in 2015 and 2016. Their first appearance saw them leave at the group stage, but in 2016 they made it all the way to the semi-finals. More recent years have seen the side distant from qualification, but from 2020 to 2021 the team rose from 17th in the table to 12th, and the competition is tight enough that the Whitecaps do have a credible shot of returning to the Champions League. Will it happen in 2022? Perhaps this Canadian sport prediction is a little optimistic for BC residents, but it would not be incredible.
The world of Formula 1 has seen some dramatic races during the last two seasons, and everybody is expecting 2022 to be just as good, if not even better. Not only did last season end in exciting and controversial fashion, but with two racers from Canada (Nicolas Latifi and Lance Stroll) on the grid there's also a chance of a return to winning ways for Canadian drivers. The large regulation changes (even extending to the wheel sizes) coming in 2022 makes this the perfect time for any one of the midfield teams such as McLaren, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Alpine to make a leap to winning ways and regular podium appearances. Of these, Aston Martin may be the best-placed, thanks to the funding of billionaire Lawrence Stroll, the father of Canada's Lance Stroll (a driver for the team).
Lance Stroll could yet achieve his first victory in 2022 even if the team stays as a midfield contender. It's no fanciful sport prediction, as 2020 saw Sergio Perez claim his maiden victory, against all odds (well, odds of 60/1) in the Sakhir Grand Prix. That same season also bore witness to the stunning and shocking victory of Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri at the Italian Grand Prix. Midfield runners continued to achieve occasional and spectacular victories in 2021, such as Alpine's Esteban Ocon taking his first win at the Hungarian Grand Prix, while McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo did likewise in Italy. Canada's Lance Stroll has every chance of finishing the 2022 season with a first win, aided by the substantial funding his Aston Martin team enjoys, huge regulation changes, and the fact that midfielders have taken a quartet of triumphs in the last two years. It remains to be seen whether this sport prediction will happen on home turf whatever else occurs, as the Canadian Grand Prix is pencilled in for the preliminary 2022 schedule but has been cancelled in recent years due to the pandemic.
Bianca Andreescu is the greatest female tennis player that Canada has ever produced, and the pre-pandemic world of 2019 saw her achieve stunning success and defy all sporting predictions. Not only did she defeat Serena Williams to become the first player from Canada to win the Canadian Open in half a century, Andreescu then repeated this impressive feat by beating the legend of the women's game again on an even bigger stage later that year. It was the US Open final, the last Grand Slam of the calendar year, and Andreescu beat Williams in straight sets to write her name in the history books. Not only had Andreescu won her first major, she was the first Canadian to do so, and the first player born in the 2000s to take a Grand Slam. All of this propelled her to a career best ranking of 4th in the world.
More recently, Andreescu has slipped down the order to number 46 in the world and was eliminated in the first and second rounds of Wimbledon and the Australian/French Opens in 2021 (she did better in the US Open but still departed in the fourth round). It is worth pointing out much of her lost time in 2020 was due to a combination of a knee injury and then the COVID-19 pandemic. This affected her directly in 2021 when Andreescu was infected with the disease and had to take time out. Much of Andreescu's lower ranking can be attributed to injury and COVID-19, with the pandemic also making it harder for her to get time on court after her knee recovered. The US Open did see the Canadian star's form improve, and her fourth round loss to Maria Sakkari went on for over three hours and only ended past 2am, becoming the latest ladies' game in tennis history. Following some disappointing Grand Slam upset defeats, this does mark an improvement and with more court time there's every chance that Andreescu can mount a sustained recovery and perhaps reclaim not just the Canadian but perhaps even take the US Open once again in 2022. It's a sporting prediction to keep your eye on and one to consider placing a free online casino bet on.
Of all the Canadian sporting predictions on this list for 2022, perhaps the single most likely to happen is for the men's soccer team to reach the World Cup. Hosted in Qatar (a controversial choice to say the least), the climate may not be helpful to players from Canada as the Qatari winter is about as hot as a Portuguese summer. At the time of writing, eight matches have been played, with a further six due in January, February, and March of 2022. Things are looking tasty for Canada, who are top of their table on 16 points, one ahead of the United States, with Mexico and Panama both on 14. As the top three sides will automatically qualify for the Qatar World Cup that looks extremely promising for Canada, although this sport prediction is still not guaranteed given that just two points cover four teams.
Should the team suffer misfortune and end up fourth, this means not a failure to qualify but moving on to the inter-confederation playoffs, so qualification could yet be possible. So it seems eminently likely that the team will indeed make it to the World Cup proper in 2022. But what then? Could a shock result in the world's biggest soccer tournament be on? Well, nothing is impossible. But it is highly improbable. The powerhouses of European and South American football remain the strong favourites, with Canada hundreds if not thousands to one to take the title on sportsbooks like Betfair. However, soccer has produced such shocks before, most notably with Leicester City claiming the English Premier League title at 5,000/1. But first things first. Qualification is a must, and this appears to be the safest sport prediction for 2022 there is (on this list, at least).
With the exception of a one medal dip from Vancouver to Sochi, the Canadian Winter Olympics team has been on an upward trend since Lake Placid, all the way back in 1980. So it might seem an unusual sport prediction to forecast a decline from Pyeongchang (after all, it's almost a tradition for host nations to excel at their own Games and then win fewer medals at the succeeding Olympics). But that is precisely what California's global data analytics firm Gracenote has predicted for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. This would put Canada fifth in the medals table, behind Norway, Russia, Germany, and the United States. If accurate, this would be the joint lowest standing since Lillehammer in 1994.
It's worth stressing this 2022 result would not be a disaster, as between 24 and 29 medals have been won at the most recent quartet of Winter Olympics, but it's obviously not a positive sporting prediction especially given how much everyone could use cheering up amid the seemingly endless woe of the pandemic. In the last three Games, Canada has placed in the top three on the medals table and slipping from the virtual podium would be a shame. The country's Winter Olympic team is forecast to get 23 medals in 2022, almost half the 45 that top dogs Norway might end up with. Hockey is expected to be a strong point for Canada, though, and it's worth noting this modified sport prediction is actually better for the team than an earlier one by Gracenote, which suggested a haul of 21 medals was on the cards. Nevertheless, the forecast remains for no curling medals at all. It also remains to be seen what impact COVID-19 will continue to have in 2022, whether that leads to new travel bans and lockdowns in Canada, or simply talented individuals being unable to compete due to infection. Another obstacle standing in the way is the boycott of the Beijing Olympics though rightly so. While Canadian diplomats are set to make a stand against the huge number of human rights violations China has committed, athletes will be competing as normal. However, calls from Olympians like snowboarder Drew Neilson for athletes to boycott the games too are starting to be heard which will obviously affect the number of medals won.
What 2022 holds we cannot say for certain, and entertainment could again be turned upside down by the latest developments in the pandemic. However, these sport predictions all have a reasonable chance of coming off and it'll be fun to see how many come true in 2022. Just make sure you sign up to sportsbooks like Sports Interaction and Mr Green to ensure you don't miss out on any long shots.