Year in Review 2016: Top Canadian sports tweets

De Grasse Bolt Rocky meme
De Grasse Bolt Rocky meme

In the digital era, social media seems to be just as much a part of sports as the games themselves. Athletes have never had a greater platform to share their voice, and their interactions with fans and celebrities had made frequent visits in 2016’s top headlines. As part of Yahoo Canada’s Year in Review, we’ve complied a list of the sports world’s top tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook updates of the year. And while many of these may not be authentically Canadian, there’s a hint of maple syrup and BeaverTails in each mention.

10. Cleveland trolls Jose Bautista over ‘circumstances’

The Toronto Blue Jays were, once again, one of MLB’s strongest offensive teams in 2016, but two games into the ALCS against Cleveland and the bats had gone quiet. The Jays only managed to score one run in those two games, causing Toronto slugger Jose Bautista to wonder if there was more to the story than the Jays simply struggling at the plate. His explanation of the secondary factors? “Circumstances,” or better yet, questionable calls for strikes. In failing to recognize Cleveland’s strong pitching, the club’s social media team offered its own take on Toronto’s failure to score runs.

9. ‘6ix God’ tells Penny Oleksiak ‘see you at the show’

After winning four medals at the Rio Summer Games, Canadian swimming darling Penny Oleksiak expressed disappointment after failing to secure tickets to Drake’s OVO concert in Toronto. Her misfortune though set off a memorable social media interaction with the “6ix God” himself.

Oleksiak’s dominant performance in Rio had caught the attention of the entire country, including that of Drake himself. After learning that the decorated swinger had struck out, Drizzy reached out on Instagram to let Oleksiak know that he’s got her back.

OVOPenny aka @typicalpen we are so proud of you!!!! Can't wait to see you when you are back from Rio at a show!

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Aug 13, 2016 at 6:59am PDT

8. DeMar DeRozan takes offense to SI ranking

After leading the Toronto Raptors to their best season in franchise history, DeRozan had many reasons to be happy. The Raptors were looking like a contender, pulling up short of reaching the NBA Final by two wins; he signed a monster $139-million extension to remain in Toronto for the next five seasons; and despite last year’s success, Toronto held the No. 9 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

So what had DeRozan all bent out of shape heading into the 2016-17 season? His placement in Sports’ Illustrated’s ranking of the top 100 NBA players. DeRozan took to Twitter to share his disgust, and after starting the season third in the league in scoring average, he certainly makes a strong case.

7. Gretzky shares touching tribute to his idol, Gordie Howe

Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe
Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe

Tributes to the great Gordie Howe came pouring in on July 10, 2016, when the man affectionately knows as “Mr. Hockey” passed away at the age of 88. Of the many tributes following Howe’s death, one stood out above the rest.

Wayne Gretzky shared a special bond with Howe, his idol and boyhood hero. That above photo has long been considered one of the most iconic sports photos ever. “The Great One” took to Twitter shortly after Howe’s passing to say goodbye to the hockey legend.

6. Blue Jays fan deploys ‘best sign ever’ after Texas sweep

For the second season in a row, Toronto was matched up against Texas in the ALDS and just as they had done in 2015, the Jays emerged victorious. Many fans were hoping for the dream rematch, which took on an extra layer of drama after Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista broke out into fisticuffs earlier in the season. Toronto went on to sweep Texas in three straight, allowing one ardent Jays fan to roll out the greatest fan-made banner in recent memory.

5. Argonauts pay tribute to David Bowie

David Bowie’s passing at the age of 69 sparked a slew of thoughtful tributes from all walks of life, including the world of sports. One of the most creative and touching tributes came from the Toronto Argonauts, who paid tribute to Bowie with a stream of photos that encapsulate many of Bowie’s most popular song titles.

4. Goose Gossage rips the bat flip, Jose Bautista dispels the haters

Jose Bautista has had to deal with many haters during his rise to baseball prominence in Toronto, but perhaps no critic has been quite as vocal as Goose Gossage. Shortly before the 2016 MLB season began, the former New York Yankees reliever teed off on Bautista’s bat flip in an interview with ESPN, calling the slugger a “f–king disgrace to the game.” To his credit, Bautista said all the right things when questioned by the media, but it was his veiled Twitter jab at Gossage – and all his haters, for that matter – that told us how Bautista really felt.

3. Roberto Luongo gives Twitter crown to Phil Kessel

Widely considered the funniest player on Twitter, Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo doesn’t always tip his hat to an opponent’s social media activity. But after Phil Kessel won the internet with a Twitter burn aimed at Team USA’s dismal performance at the World Cup of Hockey, Luongo was quick to give credit where credit is due.

2. Auston Matthews’ NHL debut strikes fear into Roberto Luongo

In one of the most impressive debuts in NHL history, Maple Leafs’ No. 1 pick Auston Matthews quickly put the league on notice with four goals against the rival Senators. Players and fans quickly took to social media to comment on the incredible performance, but one particular player’s tweet won the day.

  1. Twitter gushes over Andre De Grasse–Usain Bolt bromance

Of all the thrilling Canadian moments at the Summer Games in Rio, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more popular moment on social media than the bromance bewteen Usain Bolt and Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse. There were plenty of great memes and tweets, far too many to only mention a single one. So we’re grabbed a few of our favourites. Enjoy!