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Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds plays first base during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Andy Lyons/2010 Getty Images)
Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds plays first base during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Andy Lyons/2010 Getty Images)

MVP; MVP; MVP...

A Golden Age for Canadian sport? Add to ...

The staff at First Up are traveling today; leaving on a jet plane, landing (hopefully) in Edmonton, Alberta, where we'll be first-time visitors to the City of Champions (Though Not So Much Lately)

So, light duties here.

But I leave you with a question: As the pride of Etobicoke, Joey Votto celebrates his NL most valuable player award, I wonder: ten years from now; or 20 or whatever, will we look back at this era as the Golden Age of Canadian sport?

Since these things are entirely arbitrary, let's start with Phoenix Suns' star Steve Nash's most valuable player award in 2005 and 2006. Then add in Justin Morneau's 2006 American League MVP and of course the NL MVP Votto earned yesterday. While we're at it we'll recognize that Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton were the NHL MVP's in 2007 and 2006, respectively.

Obviously we're a bit short on impact players in the NFL, though it's interesting to note that of the 35 Canadians that have suited up for NFL teams, 11 of them are on rosters this season; suggesting that the volume is increasing, which in turn should lead to some star quality breakthroughs.

But sticking with MVP's of the 29 possible awards in the four 'major' sports dating back to 2005 (it would be 30 but for the NHL lockout), six of them have been won by Canadian athletes. Considering that Canadians hadn't won an MVP award in any league outside the NHL before Larry Walker's NL MVP award in 1997 - though Ferguson Jenkins' National League Cy Young in 1971 was obviously an amazing accomplishment - having Canadians sweep 21 per cent of the available titles in a six-year period is pretty historic, in my books - particularly since Canadians only won two of a possible five NHL awards which were a Canadian-only domain until Sergei Federov broke through in 1994.

Take the NFL out of the equation and it's 27 per cent. Throw in our performance in the 2010 Olympics where we led the world in gold and it's even more impressive.

So, are we in a special time? Is this the start of something -- and here I'm thinking of the re-emergence of Canadian skill players in the NHL and what promises to be an exceptional wave of basketball talent just now beginning to break internationally -- or is it just an aberration?

Thoughts welcome, either in the comments section or via Twitter: @michaelgrange.

Also, if there's anywhere I need to go in Edmonton, please advise.

 

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