Our staff members revisit the most captivating moments of the year in sports
Maggie Morris – Managing Editor
In 2021, I did something I never thought I’d do: I cheered for the Habs. As a lifelong Sens fan, I’m used to facing adversity, but the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs tested me in a way I had never experienced before. Ultimately, when the Canadiens were matched up with the Leafs in the first round, it made the decision significantly easier. The Leafs suck.
The Habs’ playoff run made Montreal come alive in a way that it hadn’t since early 2020. While it’s always more fun to watch your own team achieve that level of success, it was still so cool to be a part of. Honourable mention to the European Football Championship, which assured me that I will never be able to break my British boyfriend’s heart the way that final did.
Guillaume Laberge – Music Editor
As a French Canadian and a hockey fan since the age of five, it’s hard not to put the Montreal Canadiens’ unbelievable Stanley Cup finals run as my favourite sports moment of the year. They had such an improbable Cinderella story with them coming back from a 3–1 deficit against the Toronto Maple Leafs (what a choke) and then beating powerhouses like Winnipeg and Vegas along the way. Their win in game six of the semifinals over Vegas was definitely the climax of their run, and the fact that it happened on Quebec’s national day made the story feel unreal. It’s a game we Habs fans will remember for a long time. I’ve been following the Habs closely for about 15 years now and never have I felt more joy and excitement following them over the summer.
Liam Sharp – Sports Editor
Having no fans in attendance during UFC fights was an experience I will never forget. Sure, all sports are ultimately better off with spectators, but being exposed to MMA without the deafening crowd noises and reactions was weirdly satisfying. Hearing the heavy breaths, the strikes landed, and coaches’ instructions in excruciating detail throughout a bout was something I’ll probably never get to witness again unless I’m fortunate enough to be octagon-side in the future (or unfortunate enough to experience another global pandemic).
Without fans, Max Holloway’s beatdown of Calvin Kattar on Fight Island to start the year tops my list. With fans, Rose Namajunas’ flash knockout versus Weili Zhang perfectly encapsulated why this sport can be so endearing.
Gabriel Guindi – News Editor
Other than the Canadiens making the finals, my favourite sports moment had to have been the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA championship. In this day and age of NBA super teams usually winning it all, I found it refreshing that a traditionally-built, smaller market team got to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. Especially for Giannis Antetokounmpo, his loyalty to the franchise by staying with the Bucks and not scampering off to a bigger market team based purely off hype, was gratifying not only for him, but for the city of Milwaukee who haven’t welcomed a professional sports title in over 50 years.
Maria Bouabdo – Assistant Sports Editor
Excluding the Habs’ playoff run, this was my favourite sports moment. Not because it’s amazing or impossible to do, but because of the exact opposite.
Brandon Duhaime is a clumsy and relatable Minnesota Wild rookie, as you can see in the clip. I think it’s pretty rare for hockey fans to watch professional athletes and relate to them on the ice. Like have you ever heard someone say “I could totally pull that off” when talking about Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby? I doubt it. However, a lot of us can 100 per cent say that we have enough skills in the clumsiness department to pull off what Duhaime did. So that alone makes him a 2021 icon for me.
Graphic by Madeline Schmidt