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Resolutions for Canadian sport

What to resolve for 2011? How about that the Canadian hockey juniors reclaim the world championship? That’s a given.

What to resolve for 2011? How about that the Canadian hockey juniors reclaim the world championship? That’s a given.

Or that a Canadian-based NHL team should, for the first time since the Montreal Canadiens of 1993, win the Stanley Cup? Now that would be sweet. But, beyond the ice, there are other pursuits that might warrant concerted effort and attention as the calendar flips to a brand new year and the onset of sporting seasons yet to be admired.

Maybe Canadian fans should consider resolutely backing the female national soccer squad. Indications are this team can make an impact at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, and in the process ignite tremendous support for the sport back home.

Considering the number of people in this country who play and love the game, success by the women on the world stage could make Canada a future host of major tournaments. That kind of breakthrough could also spark rededicated efforts to improve the men’s national program, with a view to getting Canada qualified for the FIFA World Cup Brazil in 2014.

As far as high performance in amateur sport goes, Canadians should resolve to maintain the momentum established at the Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler. The summer Games in London are now less than two years away, and an array of maple-leaf stars deserve to be in the spotlight as they gear up for the pre-Olympic season.

They include Brent Hayden and Ryan Cochrane, two of the best swimmers in the world. To name but a few more, there’s also diving’s Alexandre Despatie, triathlon’s Paula Findlay and hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. All are worthy of generous and consistent support.

In 2011 Canada should also be resolved to become less a spectator nation and more an active one. There are too few tracks and swimming pools in this country. Too many schools lack gymnasiums and make health education an optional proposition.

Our national physical literacy and sense of well-being ought to go far beyond tuning in the TV set to check in on the exploits of our favourite hockey or football team. As a nation we must broaden our horizons of sporting interest so as to include role models from a richer variety of athletic endeavours.

In short, a happy new year, when it comes to Canadian sport, might hinge on a national resolution to consider a wider field of play.

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