Canada, while relatively small as far as population numbers are concerned, is no slouch when it comes to sports. Our country produced no shortage of amazing athletes over the years, from NHL superstars to decorated Olympians.
However, it can be easy to forget this because mainstream sports media is driven by American outlets that would rather not talk about their northern neighbours. They don’t want their stars to get outshined by ours—but too bad!
Rather than let them get lost in the shuffle, we’ve decided to compile this list of famous Canadian athletes who have star power on and off the field. These six have made names for themselves through their play and their personalities.
Ready? Game on!
This feels like the most logical place to start, right?
Canadians love their ice hockey, and no one did hockey quite like Gretzky. The legend from Brantford, Ontario won four Stanley Cups and holds basically every individual NHL record imaginable, some of which will never be touched. Take this in: if you took away all 894 of his goals, he would STILL have more career points than every other player in history.
Gretzky has stayed busy during retirement. Between working in front-office roles for several NHL clubs to launching a winery to joining TNT as a studio analyst, “The Great One” is a marketable influencer and still one of the most famous Canadian athletes.
When it comes to Canadian soccer, Christine Sinclair is the undisputed GOAT.
The 39-year-old from British Columbia is one of the most famous Canadian Olympians, having represented the country on the big stage five times. No player—man or woman—has scored more goals in international competition than she has. She could have her own blog devoted to her accomplishments. Seriously, she’s that good.
Off the pitch, she’s been a powerful advocate for social justice who has frequently spoken out against Canada Soccer’s misogyny. She’s a trailblazer in more ways than one, and someone who every Canadian should respect as a role model.
After Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999, hockey was left searching for its next star—enter “Sid The Kid” from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
Donning number 87 on his back, he made an immediate impact with the Pittsburgh Penguins after being drafted in 2005. He’d led them to three Stanley Cup Championships since 2008 and scored the “Golden Goal” for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Are you really Canadian if you don’t remember exactly where you were when he did that?
Crosby is also a star off the ice. He’s the main celebrity spokesperson for Tim Horton’s, as if he couldn’t get more Canadian. Whether you love him or wish he was on your team, you can’t deny his status as one of the most famous Canadian athletes.
Basketball is more popular than ever, and Shai Gilgeous Alexander is one of the most famous Canadian athletes in the sport since Steve Nash.
SGA, as he’s known, is a 24-year-old from Hamilton, Ontario. He was drafted 11th in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder and has since blossomed into one league’s premier scorers. He made the prestigious All-NBA First Team in 2023 after averaging a mind-boggling 31.4 points per game—those are Michael Jordan numbers, people.
What’s even cooler is how SGA is making waves on social media. He has over two million followers on Instagram and is known for his flashy outfits. In 2022, the people voted him as GQ’s most stylish man of the year. Yeah, he’s awesome.
Here’s someone you might not have known was Canadian! You might not immediately think of baseball when you hear Canadian sports, but you should.
While he was born in California, MLB superstar Freddie Freeman has twice donned the red and white at the World Baseball Classic to honour his Canadian parents. The 2020 National League MVP and World Series Champion has been one of the league’s best hitters across his 14-year career that he’s spent with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
When he’s not hitting home runs or making exceptional plays at first base, Freeman can typically be found making headlines for his lighthearted shenanigans. He’s one of the good guys that fans of all teams can’t help but root for!
Clara Hughes is not just one of the most famous Canadian athletes, she’s also a fearless advocate for mental health resources that save lives.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Hughes made a name for herself as a dual-season cyclist who competed in six different Olympics. She is the only athlete in history to win multiple medals at both the summer and winter games. Her six medals have unquestionably made her one of the most famous Canadian Olympians.
However, you might better recognize her as the national spokesperson for the ongoing Bell Let’s Talk campaign. No matter how you feel about Bell’s involvement, it’s hard not to be inspired by Hughes’ courage to speak openly about her depression.
So there you have it: six of the most famous Canadian athletes!
From NHL stars like Sidney Crosby to Olympians like Clara Hughes, our country’s best have made names for themselves both as sports players and as people. They’ve earned people’s respect, making them perfect for your next marketing campaign.
The Influence Agency can help connect you with premier athletes making waves on social media and beyond. Sports are everywhere and athletes are the stars of the show—the time is now to start tapping into what famous Canadian athletes have to offer!
Contact us today to learn more!1