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Willie O'Ree

Willie O’Ree, CM, ONB, hockey player (born 15 October 1935 in Fredericton, NB). Willie O’Ree became the first Black hockey player to play a National Hockey League (NHL) game on 18 January 1958. He played professional hockey for more than 20 years, including 45 games with the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Since 1998, O’Ree has been the NHL’s Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity, and has led the Hockey is for Everyone program. He received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2003 for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States. In 2018, the NHL established the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in his honour. O’Ree is a Member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick. He has been inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a Builder on 27 May 2020 and will be formally inducted in 2021. The Boston Bruins will retire his No. 22 jersey in 2022.

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Mark Messier

Mark Douglas “Moose” Messier, hockey player (born 18 January 1961 in Edmonton, AB). A talented forward who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 25 seasons, Mark Messier is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He ranks near the top of many regular-season NHL records: third in points (1,887), eighth in goals (694), third in assists (1,193) and second in games played (1,756). He is also second all-time in playoff goals (109), playoff assists (186) and playoff points (295), and fourth overall in playoff games played (236). Famous for his leadership, he captained the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player with the Oilers in 1990 and with the Rangers in 1992. Messier won six Stanley Cups and received the Conn Smythe Trophyas playoff MVP in 1984. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Colored Hockey League

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men’s hockey league. It was organized by Black Baptists and Black intellectuals and was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1895. It disbanded in 1911 and reformed in 1925 but fell apart by the 1930s. Play was known to be fast, physical and innovative. The league was designed to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a hockey game between rival churches after the services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the league in January 2020.

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Grant Fuhr

Grant Fuhr, hockey player (b at Spruce Grove, Alta 28 Sept 1962). Grant Fuhr was one of the National Hockey League's best-ever goalies and a member of the outstanding Edmonton Oilers lineup of the 1980s.

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Gordie Howe

Gordon “Gordie” Howe, OChockey player (born 31 March 1928 in Floral, SK; died 10 June 2016 in Sylvania, Ohio). A 21-time National Hockey League (NHL) all-star, Howe is often described as “the greatest of them all,” even in song. Known as “Mr. Hockey,” even by fans not yet born when he retired from the sport, Howe played for 32 seasons in the major leagues, including 26 years in the NHL. Few players have come close to matching his overall proficiency, and none his longevity.

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Daniel Igali

Daniel Igali began wrestling at the age of 16 and entered the Nigerian National Senior Tournament. Despite the absence of designated age groups, Daniel Igali won his division.

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Bruny Surin

Bruny Surin, athlete (b at Cap Haïtien, Haiti, 12 July 1967). Surin was just seven years old when he immigrated to Québec. At the age of 17, he took an interest in the long jump and the triple jump. As a member of the Canadian team, he finished 15th in the long jump at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

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Lui Passaglia

Lui Passaglia, football player (born 7 June 1954 in Vancouver, BC). Lui Passaglia is regarded as one of the best kickers in Canadian Football League (CFL) history. He played 25 straight seasons with the BC Lions (1976–2000) and won three Grey Cups (1985, 1994, 2000). He holds both the CFL and professional football record for most points scored (3,991). He is also the CFL’s all-time leader in seasons, games played (408), field goals made (875) and converts made (1,045). He has been inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, the BC Football Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. His No. 5 has been retired by the Lions, with whom he works as a community relations ambassador.

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Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Boyle Davies, soccer player (born 2 November 2000 in Buduburam, Ghana). Alphonso Davies is one of the world’s most promising young soccer stars. The youngest player ever on Team Canada, he was named the Canadian Men’s Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020. After being named an MLS All-Star and the Player of the Year with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2018, he signed a six-year contract with FC Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in 2019. He was named the Bundesliga Rookie of the Season in 2019–20 and became the first Canadian men’s international to play on a team that won the Champions League. In 2020, he received the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s top male athlete and was a co-winner, with football player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

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Nancy Greene Raine

Nancy Catherine “Tiger” Greene Raine, OC, OBC, alpine skier (born 11 May 1943 in Ottawa, ON). Olympic gold medallist Nancy Greene was named Canada’s best female athlete of the 20th century by the Canadian Press. A two-time World Cup alpine skiing champion, Greene competed in slalom, giant slalom and downhill. Her fierce and aggressive style earned her the nickname “Tiger.” Her 13 World Cup victories are the most ever by a Canadian. Greene received the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year in 1967 and 1968. She retired from skiing at the age of 24 and later became a member of the Senate of Canada (2009–18). She has been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, the US Ski and Snowboarding Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Mike Weir

Michael Richard Weir, CM, OOnt, golfer (born 12 May 1970 in Sarnia, ON). Mike Weir is widely considered the one of the greatest Canadian golfers, and one of the best Canadian athletes, of all time. He became the first Canadian man to win one of professional golf’s four major tournaments when he won the 67th Masters Tournament in 2003. In total, he won eight events on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, tying him with George Knudson and Sandra Post for the most wins by a Canadian professional golfer (surpased by Brooke Henderson in 2019). Weir won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete in 2003 and is a three-time winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as the country’s best male athlete. He has been inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He has also run a winery and several charitable foundations.

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Brooke Henderson

Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, golfer (born 10 September 1997 in Smiths Falls, ON). Golf phenom Brooke Henderson has won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Awardas Canada’s best female athlete three times (2015, 2017, 2018), as well as the ESPY Award for best female golfer in 2019. She is the youngest golfer ever to win a professional tournament (at age 14), the youngest ever to win the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship (at 15), and the second youngest female golfer ever to win a major title (at 18). She holds the record for most victories (10) by a Canadian professional golfer on either the PGA or LPGA Tour, beating the previous record of eight held by George Knudson, Sandra Post and Mike Weir. In 2015, she became the first Canadian to win on the LPGA Tour since Lorie Kane in 2001. 

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Alexandre Bilodeau

Alexandre Bilodeau, freestyle skier (born 8 September 1987 in Montreal, QC). Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold medal in moguls at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver made him the first Canadian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal on home soil. At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, he became the first male Canadian athlete to successfully defend his Olympic gold medal; as well as the first freestyle skier to win consecutive Olympic gold medals. He finished his career with three world championships in dual moguls and 19 World Cup medals. He then became an accountant and a national spokesperson for people with disabilities. He has been inducted into the Québec Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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Diane Jones Konihowski

Diane Helen Jones Konihowski, OC, pentathlete, administrator (born 7 March 1951 in Vancouver, BC). Diane Jones Konihowski won gold medals for Canada in women’s pentathlon at the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games and at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. She was considered the gold-medal favourite for the 1980 Olympic Summer Games in Moscow, which Canada boycotted. She also served as director of the Canadian Olympic Committee and as Canada’s chef de mission at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney. A winner of the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada’s top female athlete and an Officer of the Order of Canada, Jones Konihowski has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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Harry Jerome

Harry Winston Jerome, OC, track and field athlete, consultant, teacher (born 30 September 1940 in Prince Albert, SK; died 7 December 1982 in Vancouver, BC). Three-time Olympian Harry Jerome won the bronze medal in the 100 m race at the 1964 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. He also won gold medals at the 1966 Commonwealth Games and the 1967 Pan American Games. Jerome broke the Canadian record in the 220-yard dash when he was only 18 years old and set or equalled world records in the 60-yard indoor dash, the 100-yard dash, the 100 m sprint and the 440-yard relay. Following his retirement from competition, he promoted amateur and youth sport through national and provincial programs. Jerome also advocated for better support of Canadian athletes and for greater representation of racialized Canadians on Canadian television and advertising. He was the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the Order of Canada.

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Larry Kwong

​Larry Kwong, hockey player (born 17 June 1923 in Vernon, BC; died 15 March 2018 in Calgary, AB). On 13 March 1948, Kwong became the first Chinese Canadian to play a National Hockey League game, thereby breaking the colour barrier. He was also the first Asian-Canadian and first hockey player born in Vernon, BC, to play in the NHL.

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Carol Huynh

Carol Huynh, wrestler, Olympic medallist (born 16 November 1980 in Hazelton, BC). Carol Huynh, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, is the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling. Her victory was also the first gold medal for Canada at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 2012, Huynh won the bronze medal in her division at the London Olympics. A winner of 11 Canadian championships, she has also won gold at the Commonwealth and Pan-American Games, and has medalled at four world wrestling championships.

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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Laurent “Dr. Kill” Duvernay-Tardif, CQ, football player, doctor (born 11 February 1991 in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, QC). Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an offensive lineman with the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). Only the 10th player ever drafted into the NFL from Canadian college and university football, he became the first Quebec-born football player to win a Super Bowl championship in 2020. The first active NFL player to become a doctor, he opted out of the 2020 season to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was made a Chevalier of the Ordre National du Québec in 2019. In 2020, he was named a Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine, as well as co-winner, with soccer player Alphonso Davies, of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

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Marilyn Bell

Marilyn Grace Bell Di Lascio (née Bell), OOnt, swimmer (born 19 November 1937 in Toronto, ON). Marilyn Bell is a long-distance swimmer, best remembered for her 1954 swim across Lake Ontario, which brought her international fame at the age of 16. She won the 1954 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year, as well as the 1954 and 1955 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as the country’s top female athlete. She was also named the 1954 Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year. In 1955, she became the youngest person to swim the English Channel. She also swam across the Juan de Fuca Strait in 1956. She was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and is a Member of the Order of Ontario.

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Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu, tennis player (born 16 June 2000 in Mississauga, Ontario). Romanian Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu won 19 junior singles titles and 13 junior doubles tournaments between 2012 and 2017, when she turned professional. In August 2019, she became the first Canadian since Faye Urban in 1969 to win the Rogers Cup. Andreescu then won the US Open in September 2019, making her the first Canadian singles tennis player to win a grand slam title. In 2019, she received the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada’s female athlete of the year and became the first tennis player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.