7 Notable Ottawa Sports Figures
The excellent climate, low crime rate, and a strong economy make Ottawa, Canada, a unique place to visit and live in as a family. The citizens engage in different sporting activities to strengthen the country’s unity and improve its image.
Sports also offers an opportunity for Canada to grow in various aspects, including the economy. The most popular game that Canada is known for is ice hockey. The National Hockey League (NHL) is well-established both in Canada and the United States.
Soccer and baseball are other games that have made Canada’s name great in different parts of the world. These games are played by well-determined players who are willing to make their country’s name more prominent in the world’s sports field.
Tennis and rugby are always on the list of the best sports in Canada. After its introduction in the country in 1823, rugby disappeared for a while and was later revived.
Tennis, on the other hand, is managed by Tennis Canada. This body encourages the participation of tennis, both locally and at international levels.
Notable Ottawa Sports Figures
Most of these teams’ players are famous because of their excellent performance in the field. The teams’ sponsors and managers are also notable for supporting their teams. They help by providing funding to support their team players financially.
An excellent example is Eugene Melnyk, the owner and chairman of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. He is also renowned for his philanthropy and business success. You can read his profile to learn how he has contributed significantly to Canada’s sports.
Now, we’ll look at the other notable sports figures in Ottawa. Our list cuts across all the sports activities in Canada, including hockey, soccer, baseball, among many others.
Let’s get started.
1. Daniel Alfredsson of Ottawa Senators
David is the team’s captain and known to be one of the most outstanding hockey players. He has scored over 1,150 points, not comparable with any other player in Ottawa. Also, he has been the team’s captain for the longest time, more than 14 years.
During David’s captaincy, the team had consistency in success during both regular and playoffs. He leads in the goals, assists, and points any player has scored, and he is the face of the Ottawa Senators. His leadership has influenced many people positively.
The 2005-06 NHL season was his year of success. He scored 103 points and was one of the top five in the finishing. He was named one of the consisted players of the 2000s. However, he didn’t win significant awards except for his Calder in the 1995-96 season.
Daniel has been Ottawa senators’ face since he joined the team, and he remains to be an icon for the franchise. He has set his records high, and even if they get broken one day, he will remain a legend of the hockey team.
2. Craig Anderson of Ottawa Senators
He is known for his goalie skills in Ottawa Senators. Anderson joined Ottawa in the middle of the 2010-2011 session when the team needed a number one goaler. The Senators never regretted it after giving Anderson that position.
He is a record holder in wins, goals played, and second in shout outs. His playoff numbers are getting better each day, and his name is in the top five of all categories.
During the Eastern Conference Final, he led the team during the 2016-17 season when his wife battled cancer. He got a shout-out win during the same season where they celebrated a 2-0 win in October 2016.
He has been there for the franchise even after some Senator’s players left. He remains a legend to the Senators.
3. Antony Coombs Redblacks
Antony is a Canadian footballer, playing for Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League. He was ranked at position 8 of the best players by CFL’s Amateur Scouting Bureau final rankings.
The Toronto Argonauts drafted him third overall, and in May 2014, they signed him in. Coombs used to be a backup or rotational player in his first three seasons.
He grew fast in football, and by his fourth season, he was already averaging 5.2 receptionists per game. In November 2017, he recorded two catches for 31 yards after undergoing shoulder surgery. His team won the Grey Cup.
He later signed a practice roster agreement in 2019 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where he played 16 regular-season games. In the 16th, he rushed 37 times for 158 yards. He also had 20 receptions and 156 yards, and also two touchdowns. Coombs signed in with Redblacks in February 2023, after entering free agency.
4. Super Bennie Westwood, Rugby
Westwood arrived at Warrington when wolves were playing in Wilderspool, and he scored two tries as a newcomer. This was a defeat to London, with a score of 30-18. He scored two tries against Leeds on his third game, which gave him his first win.
Westwood retired from Wolves in 2019, leaving the team better than he found it and winning three Challenge Cup Titles and two league leader’s shield. Even when he was leaving the team in 2019, the co-captain acknowledged that Westwood had saved the club and made it grow in many ways.
He is known by many, even those who don’t have much interest in rugby. His passion and enthusiasm in performing have made his club famous and merited him an individual applaud in Great Britain and England caps, not to forget that he joined Super League Dream Team because of all that.
5. Francisco Acuña
Before joining the Canadian Premier League, Acuna had played in Liga Mix, where he played for some of Mexico’s best teams. That’s what geared his sell as a top player in the CPL at 32 years.
During his first games in Ottawa, he had two goals and two assists in the first round. On his arrival to CPL, he said that he had much to give at his age and was ready to give his best to a weak team. He lived by his words.
After scoring the fastest in CPL’s history, he set a record, a goal that he scored 22 seconds after joining Ottawa’s contest with FC Edmonton.
6. Nacho Zabal
Zabal is the goalkeeper of Atletico Ottawa, and he became famous after the Island Games. During these games, he made more saves than any goalkeeper had made in the Canadian Premier League, which led him to break Triston Henry’s record.
Nacho performed well in those games, both with the ball on the ground and making more long passes than all other keepers. He helped keep Ottawa on the run during their match against the Pacific FC, which he deserves credit for. He challenged Noah Verhoeven, who seemed to be winning over the Ottawas, by making a critical kick save.
Zabal is the busiest shot-stopper in the first round of the Island Games, even when his team was ready to give up on most shots. He will remain a legend in the team for standing tall on many occasions on their behalf.
7. Jason Spezza
In 2001, Spezza was chosen by the Ottawa Senators as a high draft pick, and he later became a big name in NHL. He is known to have set his record as the best playmaker in the team’s history.
He holds several points in the NHL in the over 680 games Ottawa Senators played in the league. This legend has a compilation of 251 goals when in a Sens sweater and over 436 assists, making him the second-best in history.
Jason made 71 assists during the 2005-06 season, which is yet to be broken. Also, the 94 points he scored during the 2007-08 season are the nearest a Sen got closest to 100. He could not live up to the team’s expectations after he succeeded Daniel in captaincy in 2013. Because of that, he was traded to the Dallas Stars.
Ottawa has many notable sports figures playing for different teams. The most influential people like Eugene Melnyk, the owner of Ottawa Senators, have also contributed a lot to Canada’s sports. There are many more sports figures that we didn’t mention.