Year in Review 2015: Top Sports stories of the year

The Toronto Blue Jays, Connor McDavid, and "Deflate-gate." This might sound a bit strange, but the stories surrounding these three topics have one thing in common. As part of our annual Year in Review coverage, we've sifted through a year's worth of Yahoo Search data to bring you the top 10 most searched stories of the year. We kick things off with an incredible donation from P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens.

10. P.K. Subban donates $10 million to Montreal Children's Hospital

By Josh Cooper, Puck DaddyMontreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban is known as one of the more generous souls in the NHL. Off the ice it seems like he’s constantly looking for a charity to help, always looking for a way to put a smile on a child’s face in some form or fashion.

In September, it was announced Subban gave a massive gift to the people of Montreal – donating $10 million over a seven-year span to the Montreal Children's Hospital. The hospital says this is the biggest philanthropic donation ever given by an athlete in Canada. Click here to read more.

9. Toronto Maple Leafs trade Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh Penguins

By Josh Dubow, AP Sports – On the first day of NHL free agency, a blockbuster trade stole the spotlight.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired high-scoring winger Phil Kessel from Toronto in the biggest move of the day, while a handful of prominent defenseman found new homes in free agency.

The Penguins sent forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen, forward Nick Spaling, defenseman Scott Harrington and a 2016 third-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Kessel, forward Tyler Biggs and defenseman Tim Erixon. Conditional draft picks are also involved.

Kessel has 247 goals and 273 assists in nine seasons between Boston and Toronto, including 25 goals and 36 assists for the Maple Leafs in 2014-15. Click here to read more.

8. Connor McDavid selected 1st overall in 2015 NHL Draft

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

By Frank Pingue, Reuters

– Connor McDavid, a Canadian ice hockey prodigy whose skills have been compared to Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky's, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the first pick of the National Hockey League Draft.

The 18-year-old center's selection was not a surprise to anyone as he has been considered the most coveted prospect for years given his hockey sense, skating wizardry, deft passing and vision for the game's finer offensive points.

Considered the NHL's most marketable prospect since Sidney Crosby was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2005, McDavid racked up a staggering 120 points in 47 games while playing junior hockey for the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters last season. Click here to read more.

7. Junior hockey: Canada wins Gold at WJC, McDavid drafted 1st overall

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

By Chase Kell – It seems strange to reflect on a year in junior hockey and not consider the Memorial Cup to be one of the year's biggest stories. But, then again, it's not every year that we get to witness a once-in-a-generation talent such as Connor McDavid lead Team Canada to a Gold medal on home soil at the World Junior Championships.

Sure, Team Canada did come dangerously close to blowing a four-goal lead in the final, allowing Russia to score three goals in 3:16 seconds in the second period. But McDavid scored one of five goals for Canada, securing a 5-4 win and cementing his status as the top draft prospect in hockey.

After his Erie Otters were defeated by the Oshawa Generals in the OHL final, the Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel hype machine really started picking up steam. We hadn't seen such hype around the potential first-overall pick since the Tyler-Taylor debate in 2010. Eichel, also thought to be a once-in-a-generation talent from Boston University, went on to be selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL draft. The McDavid-Eichel debate had been all but officially settled when the Edmonton Oilers selected McDavid first-overall.

McDavid instantly began to live up to the hype, scoring 12 points in 13 games for the Oilers before breaking his clavicle in an awkward fall into the boards.

6. Eugenie Bouchard tumbles down WTP Tour rankings in hellish 2015 season


By Stephanie Myles, Eh Game

– The full effect of Canadian Genie Bouchard's hellish 2015 season was felt when updated WTA Tour rankings had her at ... No. 48 in the world.

That's a drop of 10 spots from the previous week, reflecting the fact that the WTA Tour erases all the points earned at its two year-end final tournaments before they begin, unlike the usual procedure of having each week's events drop off the rolling 52-week ranking system once the tournaments are completed.

What a difference a year makes. The Montrealer has been out for some four months as she has dealt with the after-effects of the concussion suffered Sept. 4 at the US Open. There are no new updates on Bouchard's lawsuit against the USTA; that's likely to be the case for awhile. Click here to read more.

5. Patrick Kane investigated after rape allegations, avoids charges

(AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)
(AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)

 By Carolyn Thompson, AP – Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane can focus solely on his NHL career after avoiding criminal charges in a rape investigation, with prosecutors ending a bizarre three-month ordeal that put one of hockey's biggest stars at the centre of intense speculation and criticism.

Prosecutors announced Thursday they declined to file charges against Kane because of a lack of credible evidence in a case "rife with reasonable doubt." The accuser signed an affidavit saying she did not want to press charges, prosecutors said.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said a three-month investigation found that physical and forensic evidence "tend to contradict" the accuser's claim that she was raped on Aug. 2 at Kane's off-season home outside Buffalo. Click here to read more.

4. The "Super Fight": Floyd Mayweather defeats Manny Pacquiao 

By Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports – On Feb. 20, boxing journalists around the world celebrated. That was the day Floyd Mayweather Jr. signed a contract to face Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title fight. More importantly from the journalists’ standpoint, it meant an end to six years of being asked if the fight would ever happen.

But the fight hardly seems like a historic event now, and the competition in the ring didn’t come close to justifying the enormous hype that preceded it. Oh, you can bet Mayweather and Pacquiao are happy it occurred. Combined, they took home around $350 million for their one night of work.

And all the fight had to do was live up, in even a small way, to its billing. It did not, of course. It was a dull, non-competitive fight that Mayweather won handily. He boxed superbly and Pacquiao was not at all the dynamo he promised to be. Post-fight, news leaked that Pacquiao had fought with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that severely limited him.Click here to read more.

3. Deflate-gate: Judge rules for Tom Brady, overturns four-game suspension

By Frank Schwab, Shutdown Corner – This was the NFL’s nightmare. After more than seven months, several millions of dollars and big talking from the league and commissioner Roger Goodell in the deflate-gate controversy, the first time someone independent looked at the case against Tom Brady it was thrown out.

Judge Richard M. Berman ruled that Brady’s four-game suspension by the NFL will be vacated, a decision Goodell plans on appealling.

Brady maintained his innocence even while the NFL tried to make its most popular player a scapegoat in a scandal the league let grow to outrageous proportions, but from the moment investigator Ted Wells’ report came out it was clear that there was no evidence against Brady. The NFL, for whatever reason, didn’t want to admit that and kept trying to turn Brady into a villain. An independent judge saw it for what it was worth. Click here to read more.

2. 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games 

By CNW Group – The largest-ever international multi-sport Games in Canada's history came to a close, but the impact of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games will be felt for decades to come.

The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) estimates that, between ticketed events, municipal activations and free PANAMANIA festivities, there were around two-million visits to the Games.

With about 120 sold-out Pan Am events, the full stands and cheering crowds made the Games a once-in-a-lifetime experience for hundreds of athletes. By the end of the day on July 26, TO2015 will have sold 1,050,000 of the 1.3 million tickets available for purchase to the Pan Am Games — the equivalent of selling out a Toronto Maple Leafs home game more than 55 times. Two-hundred thousand tickets are available for purchase to the Parapan Am Games.

Team Canada made a historic showing on home soil, setting a national record for gold medals won at a Pan Am Games, having won 78. The team came second in the medal standings — the best showing for Canada at any Pan Am Games. Click here to read more.

1. Toronto Blue Jays end 22-year Playoff drought

By Israel Fehr, Big League Stew – After losing Game 6 of the ALCS to the Kansas City Royals, the Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated from the MLB postseason. But this being their first trip to the playoffs in 22 years, many consider the 2016 season to be a massive success for the Blue Jays.

The run that the Jays went on over the last two months of the season was incredible! After making a big splash at the trade deadline by bringing in five players, including All-Stars David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto took off. The Jays won 43 of their final 62 games to race past the New York Yankees to claim AL East title and get into the playoffs for the first since 1993.

And there's a lot to be excited about for the 2016 season. All the key players in the best lineup in the league are under contract for 2016. With AL MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Edwin Encarnacion, Bautista and Tulowitzki making up the middle of the order, opposing teams are once again going to have trouble containing Toronto's powerful offense. Click here to read more.