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Canada's breakout sports stars of 2022 to keep an eye out for in the future

As 2023 approaches, a look back at some of the success stories in Canadian sports warrants recognition for the exciting new stars of the future.
Summer McIntosh, of Canada, smiles after winning the gold medal in the Women's 200 meters individual medley final during the swimming competition of the Commonwealth Games, at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth

As 2023 approaches, a look back at some of the success stories in Canadian sports warrants recognition for the exciting new stars of the future.

The Canadian Press dives into Canada’s breakout stars of 2022 to keep an eye out for in the years to come.


The Toronto native wasn’t an unknown entering 2022, but McIntosh brightened her star on just about every stage she could. After an Olympic showing that saw her finish fourth in two events last year, the 16-year-old picked up four medals (two gold, one silver, one bronze) in her first world championships. A couple of weeks later, McIntosh added another six medals at the Commonwealth Games (two gold, three silver, one bronze). With another world championships coming in July, McIntosh may be in line for a few more medals as the Paris Olympics await her in 2024.


The 17-year-old, who is expected to be the top pick of the 2023 NHL draft, exploded onto the scene in the 2021-22 season playing for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. After opening the 2021 portion of the season with 24 points in 24 games, Bedard had an impressive 76 points in 38 games to finish the season with 51 goals and 49 assists. He also helped Canada win gold at the 2022 world junior championship, contributing eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games. Bedard has only raised his level of play since, with 27 goals and 64 points in 28 WHL games this season. He will help Canada try to retain its title at the 2023 world juniors. 


The Montreal native enjoyed a quantum leap in the college ranks after a solid 2020-21 freshman season at the University of Arizona, where he was named to the Pac-12 all-Freshman team. In 2021-22, Mathurin bumped his scoring average from 10.8 to 17.7 en route to being named Pac-12 player of the year, second team all-American and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the most outstanding college basketball player. Mathurin was drafted sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers at this past summer's NBA draft and has been among the top rookies in the league averaging 17.2 points per game.


After a fifth-place finish at the Tokyo Games and a third consecutive NCAA title, Rogers further etched her name into the history books in 2022. The Richmond, B.C., native emerged to win Canada’s first medal of the athletics worlds while becoming the first-ever Canadian woman to win a world championship field event medal, earning silver in July. Shortly after that, she added a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. With the Canadian and NCAA records in hand, Rogers is competing in her final year at the University of California, Berkeley. And as another world championship approaches next summer, she may need room at home for more hardware.


With Diving Canada expecting to go through a transition period following some retirements, Vallée came through as the next potential star. The University of Miami star made a splash in 2022, winning two Grand Prix medals before taking home another two (one silver, one bronze) at her first world championships. Vallée of Beaconsfield, Que., native followed that up with three medals at the Commonwealth Games, highlighted by a gold in the one-metre springboard event. She will look to solidify her standing among the world's best at the 2023 world aquatics championships in July leading up to Paris 2024.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2022.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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