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Top 10 Manitoba Sports Moments of 2022

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For the third year in a row, the Free Press sports department has whittled down a year’s worth of memorable stories to create the Top 10 Manitoba Sports Moments of the Year list.

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For the third year in a row, the Free Press sports department has whittled down a year’s worth of memorable stories to create the Top 10 Manitoba Sports Moments of the Year list.

After tallying all the votes, and indulging in a debate or two, here are the results from a jam-packed 2022.

10. Pro hoops returns to Winnipeg

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES / MIKE DEAL

The CEBL championship trophy and the logo for the Winnipeg Sea Bears during the unveiling of the new Winnipeg Sea Bears franchise for the Canadian Elite Basketball League at the Canada Life Centre.

After 20-plus years, Winnipeg is once again the home of a professional basketball team.

The Winnipeg Sea Bears, owned by local businessman and lawyer David Asper, officially became the 10th team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League last month.

At a press conference on Nov. 30, Asper revealed the Sea Bears — a name that’s been criticized by many — will play out of the Canada Life Centre and that the arena will be re-configured into a 4,500-seat venue.

Two weeks later, the Sea Bears announced Mike Taylor — the former head coach of the Polish national squad — will be the team’s first ever head coach and general manager.

9. Lawrence breaks Canada Summer Games record

STEVE PARR PHOTO

Madi Lawrence at Team Manitoba 2022 Canada Games.

Winnipeg’s Madi Lawrence was Team Manitoba’s breakout star at the 2022 Canada Summer Games (CSG) in Niagara, Ont.

The University of Manitoba Bisons athlete captured gold in the heptathlon — an athletic contest featuring seven events — and set a CSG record with 5655 points, breaking the previous record set 33 years ago by 222 points. Lawrence also won silver in the high jump, where she tied a personal best, and in the long jump where she achieved a career high.

With her strong showing, Lawrence was chosen as Manitoba’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony.

8. Swimming legend inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES / RUTH BONNEVILLE

Celebrated blind Paralympic champion swimmer Tim McIsaac was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in October.

Tim McIsaac is one of the most accomplished athletes to ever come out of Winnipeg.

He won a whopping 28 medals, 14 of which were gold, in para swimming at four Paralympics Games between 1976 and 1988. His résumé also includes being named Canada’s junior male athlete of the year in 1976 and Manitoba’s athlete of year in 1982.

The blind swimmer’s career hasn’t gone unnoticed as he was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in October. McIsaac was part of a loaded class that also featured six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, canoe-kayak legend Adam Van Koeverden, and soccer great Dwayne De Rosario.

7. Tuttosi dominates Women’s World Cup of Rugby

RUGBY CANADA

Emily Tuttosi, member of Team Canada at the women’s Rugby World Cup during a preliminary match with the U.S. in New Zealand.

Emily Tuttosi, the pride of small-town Souris, made a name for herself at this year’s Women’s World Cup of Rugby in New Zealand for Team Canada.

Tuttosi, who plays hooker and was the lone Manitoban in red and white, led the entire event in points scored (30) and tries (six) at the end of the three-game round robin. She ended up finishing in a tie for second for tries and in a tie for sixth place for points scored. Tuttosi and Canada fell just short of the podium as they lost the bronze medal match 36-0 to France on Nov. 11.

6. Forney leaves Goldeyes

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES / MIKAELA MACKENZIE

After 26 total seasons, Rick Forney managed his final game for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2022.

Rick Forney managed his final game for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2022.

After 26 total seasons with the Fish, Forney, who spent the last 17 as the team’s manager, announced in October that he was moving on to take a job with the Atlantic League’s York Revolution. It was a no-brainer for Forney as the Revolution play just over an hour away from his home in Maryland.

Forney leaves Winnipeg with an 887-753 (.541) regular-season record (fifth-highest winning percentage in league history), 13 winning seasons and three American Association championships (2012, 2016, 2017).

Last week, the Goldeyes named Greg Tagert the club’s fourth manager in franchise history. Tagert knows the independent baseball scene well as he coached the Gary SouthShore RailCats for 16 seasons.

5. Wesmen women’s basketball shines

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES / MIKAELA MACKENZIE

Head coach Tanya McKay at Wesmen basketball practice at the Duckworth Centre in March.

No U Sports program in Manitoba had a better 2022 than the Winnipeg Wesmen’s women’s basketball team.

They ended up losing to top-ranked Ryerson 70-48 in the national championship game on April 3, but it was still a year to remember for the downtown Winnipeg school.

Led by Kyanna Giles, Faith Hezekiah, and U Sports player of the year Keylyn Filewich, the No. 3-ranked Wesmen, who went 14-2 in the regular season, reached the national final for the first time since 2003.

After the season, Tanya McKay — the U of W’s head coach since 1996 — announced she was returning home to Nova Scotia to coach the Dalhousie Tigers.

McKay left the prairies as the winningest and longest-tenured head coach in U of W history. Her career record of 528-306 ranks fourth all-time in Canadian university history.

In May, the Wesmen named Alyssa Cox as McKay’s replacement.

4. Manitobans help Canada win Olympic hockey gold

TASS / SERGEI BOBYLEV

Jesse Compher (L) of the US and Jocelyne Larocque of Canada in their ice hockey gold medal match at the Wukesong Arena as part of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

A trio of Manitobans — blue-liners Ashton Bell and Jocelyn Larocque, and goalie Kristen Campbell — won gold at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics with the Canadian women’s hockey team.

Canada captured the top prize with a 3-2 victory over the Americans in the gold medal game on Feb. 17.

Deloraine’s Bell played all seven games and had a goal and four assists. Larocque, who hails from Ste. Anne., also played all seven games and registered two assists. Campbell, a Brandon native, was Canada’s third-string netminder.

All three also won gold at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Denmark in September by beating the United States 2-1 in the final.

3. Einarson three-peats on national stage

ANDREW VAUGHAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

Kerri Einarson's team out of Gimli: Einarson (left), third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Harris.

Kerri Einarson’s fearsome foursome did it again in 2022.

Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur won their third consecutive Scotties Tournament of Hearts crown in February with a 9-6 win over Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville in the final.

The victory put the Gimli rink in elite company, as they join Saskatchewan’s Vera Pezer (1971-73), Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones (2001-04), and Jennifer Jones (2008-10) as the only teams to win the Scotties three or more years in a row.

2. Bowness gets Jets back on track

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES / MIKE DEAL

Rick Bowness (left) walks past team owner Mark Chipman (right) after he is introduced as the new head coach for the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre in July.

You’d have a tough time finding a Winnipeg Jets fan who wasn’t disappointed when Barry Trotz, a Stanley Cup-winning coach from Dauphin, turned down the club’s head coaching vacancy last summer.

Instead of a Trotz homecoming, True North settled for a familiar face and hired Rick Bowness in July to a two-year contract.

Fortunately for the Jets, Plan B couldn’t have worked out better. The roster is mostly the same from a disappointing 2021 campaign, but Bowness — who spent the past three seasons behind the bench for the Dallas Stars — wasted no time shaking things up as he stripped Blake Wheeler of his captaincy. Bowness has found a way to light a fire under this bunch, and despite a lengthy list of injuries, the Jets enter the new year in second place in the Central Division.

1. Bombers end historic season in heartbreak

THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES / HEYWOOD YU

Bombers wide receivers Dalton Schoen, left, and Brendan O’Leary-Orange in the locker room after losing to the Toronto Argonauts in the 109th Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium in November.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were one win away from cementing themselves as a dynasty.

With a victory over the 11-7 Toronto Argonauts in Regina for the 109th Grey Cup, the heavily favoured 15-3 Bombers could have celebrated their third-straight championship — a feat no CFL team has accomplished in over 40 years. But on Nov. 20 at Mosaic Stadium, the Argos were the better team and outlasted the Bombers 24-23 to end Winnipeg’s season in devastating fashion.

To make it sting even more, 35-year-old running back Andrew Harris, a Winnipegger and former Bomber, helped the Argos pull off the upset with 69 yards on 11 touches.

Regardless of how it ended, it was an incredible season for the Bombers as their 15 wins was a franchise best and quarterback Zach Collaros (Most Outstanding Player), receiver Dalton Schoen (Most Outstanding Rookie) left tackle Stanley Bryant (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman) and Mike O’Shea (Coach of the Year) all received major awards.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...

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Updated on Saturday, December 31, 2022 9:58 AM CST: Fixes typo

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