Rick Zamperin: 2019 was a great year in sports. Here’s hoping 2020 is even better

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates his game-winning buzzer beater in Game 7 of the NBA's Eastern Conference semifinal in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

From Kawhi Leonard leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship to Bianca Andreescu shocking the tennis world by claiming the U.S. Open and Rogers Cup, 2019 has certainly been a wonderfully exciting year in sports.

The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl, Tiger Woods reached the summit of the golf world once again with his incredible victory at the Masters, the St. Louis Blues went from dead last in January to Stanley Cup champions and the Washington Nationals went on an unbelievable run to win the World Series.

READ MORE: Bianca Andreescu wins Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year

There was a lot to celebrate in Hamilton, too.

The Tiger-Cats recorded their best record in the franchise’s 150-year history (15-3) but fell short of winning their first CFL championship since 1999 when they lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 107th Grey Cup. Hamilton’s Brandon Banks was recognized for his extraordinary play by being voted the league’s Most Outstanding Player.

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NBA Finals: Toronto Raptors close out first NBA title with Game 6 win – Jun 13, 2019

Forge FC won the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural championship, McMaster University claimed its first women’s basketball title and the Hamilton Honey Badgers reached the final in year one of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Blue Bombers win Grey Cup after almost 30 years

What can we expect in 2020?

For that, I am counting on Santa Claus to come through on delivering a few items on my annual Christmas wish list.

Dear Santa, for the love of all things holly and jolly, please bring an end to the decades of suffering that fans of the Tiger-Cats and Toronto Maple Leafs have endured. In return, I promise to put a few more cookies and an extra-large glass of milk on the mantle for you this year. That’s a fair trade, right?

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Tiger Woods claims 15th major with Masters win – Apr 14, 2019

I’m beginning to think that St. Nick is a Patriots fan because he sure seems to provide New England with a sleigh full of goodwill in the NFL playoffs. My wish — like everyone else outside of that fanbase — is for any team but the Pats to win the Super Bowl in February.

I’d love for Canada’s big three young tennis phenoms — Andreescu, Dennis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime — to have a healthy 2020 season and claim another trophy or two, or three.

READ MORE: Blue Jays execs weigh in on 95-loss season

It would be nice to see the Hamilton Bulldogs return to the OHL playoffs, but most importantly, I’m asking Santa to bring a new arena for the team in the not-too-distant future so they can leave cavernous FirstOntario Centre behind.

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Hopefully, the jolly old elf will also bring the Toronto Blue Jays a few more wins next season, a Euro 2020 title for Italy and a bunch of medals for Canada at the 2020 Toyko Summer Olympics.

If nothing else, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, as well as happiness and prosperity — and memorable sports moments — in the new year.

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