AP Photo, Darko Bandic/Andrew Lahodynskyj, COC/ISU
AP Photo, Darko Bandic/Andrew Lahodynskyj, COC/ISU

5 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: January 12-14

It’s a big weekend for Team Canada athletes with national titles and World Cup podiums on the line, as well as the start of a couple of Olympic qualifiers and the first tennis Grand Slam of the year.

Here’s what you don’t want to miss:

Figure Skating

The hunt is on for national titles as the 2024 Canadian National Skating Championships take place this weekend in Calgary.

In addition to the medals at stake, the event will help decide which skaters will compete at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, as well as the ISU World Championships, the latter of which will take place in Montreal in March.

Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are seeking their third national title in their return to the championships after having missed last year’s event while Gilles recovered from cancer surgery. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps will seek to defend their title as the reigning pairs champions.

Madeline Schizas is looking for a three-peat for the women’s title, while the men’s title is up for grabs with the retirement of last year’s champion, Keegan Messing. Among the challengers are expected to be 2023 silver medallist Conrad Orzel and 2020 national champion Roman Sadovsky as well as Stephen Gogolev and Wesley Chiu.


The Australian Open, the first tennis Grand Slam of 2024, gets underway this weekend. Among the Canadians taking to the courts in Melbourne is Félix Auger-Aliassime, currently ranked 27th in the world. He will face Austria’s Dominic Thiem in a first round match scheduled for Saturday evening.

Compatriot Milos Raonic will also play his first match on Saturday evening. The 33-year-old Canadian will have his work cut out for him when he takes on one of the crowd favourites, Australian Alex de Minaur, ranked 10th in the world. Denis Shapovalov is also in the men’s main draw. He will face a qualifier in the first round.

In women’s singles, Leylah Fernandez, ranked 36th in the world, will also face a qualifier to start the tournament. Bianca Andreescu announced last month that she would miss the first Grand Slam of the season due to a persistent back injury. Gabriela Dabrowski is entered in the women’s doubles.

In qualifying, Gabriel Diallo could earn a place in the main draw of the men’s singles tournament, while Rebecca Marino and Katherine Sebov will battle it out for a place in the women’s singles tournament.

Field Hockey

The FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers for Paris 2024 get underway this weekend. Two men’s tournaments will be held simultaneously: one in Muscat, the capital of Oman, in which the Canadians will take part, and another in Valencia, Spain. The latter city will also host the tournament where the Canadian women’s team will be in action, while another women’s tournament will be held in Ranchi, India. The top three teams from each of the two tournaments for each gender will qualify for the Olympic Games.

Five teams per gender have already secured their Olympic spots by winning their continental championships, in addition to France, which is guaranteed entry as the host country.

In Muscat, the Canadian men’s team will open the round robin against Germany on January 15, before facing Chile on January 16 and New Zealand on January 18. The other group is made up of Great Britain, Malaysia, Pakistan and China. The top two teams from each group will reach the semifinals on January 20, while the finals for first/second and third place are scheduled for January 21.

The Canadians claimed bronze at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games by defeating the United States, bouncing back from a heartbreaking overtime loss to Chile in the semifinals. Canada will be looking to qualify for a third consecutive Olympic men’s field hockey tournament after competing at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. The full line-up of the Canadian men’s team is available here.

In Valencia, the Canadian women will take on the British team on January 13, the Malaysian team on January 14 and the Spanish team on January 16. Belgium, Ireland, Japan and Ukraine will face off in the other group, with the top two teams from each group reaching the semifinals on January 18 and the finals on January 20.

The Canadians finished fourth at Santiago 2023, a result that earned them a place in this Olympic qualifying tournament. The last time the Canadian women’s hockey team took part in an Olympic tournament was at Barcelona 1992. The full list of Team Canada players is available here.

Alpine Skiing

Canadian skiers are in action at the FIS Alpine World Cup in Wengen, Switzerland this weekend.

Cameron Alexander had a good week leading up, placing ninth and tenth in the two official downhill training runs. He already has a World Cup podium under his belt this season with a third place finish in Bormio in late December.

Other Canadians to look out for include Kyle Alexander, James Crawford, Jeffrey Read and Brodie Seger. A men’s super-G will take place on Friday, followed by a downhill on Saturday and a slalom race on Sunday.

Ski Jumping

Canadian ski jumpers will seek to build on their successful season thus far at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Sapporo, Japan this weekend.

Twenty-two-year-old Abigail Strate has been on a tear, racking up three World Cup podium finishes within one week to start off 2024. Strate finished third on the large hill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, followed by a runner-up finish on the large hill in Oberstdorf and then another third place finish on the normal hill in Villach.

Her teammate, 20-year-old Alexandria Loutitt is also one to watch. Loutitt had a strong start to the 2023-24 season, snagging three World Cup podiums in early December. Athletes will compete on the large hill on both Saturday and Sunday.