It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Canadian sports often live in the shadow cast by the United States’ own leagues just over the border. The CFL, for instance, only commands an average of 105,000 viewers per game, while regular season games in the NFL can count on viewership numbers north of 18.5 million. As far as individual athletes are concerned though, Canadians are spread far and wide.
So, who occupies the country’s rich list? Let’s take a look at Canada’s wealthiest athletes, in the country’s own currency ($CAD).
Canada has experienced something of a renaissance in terms of its sporting landscape in recent months. As of April 2022, the state of Ontario is now accepting wagers on sports, including ice hockey, soccer, golf, and lacrosse. The mega-brand BetMGM was among the first sportsbooks to take advantage of Canadian hospitality, offering fans new ways to interact with their favorite teams.
To this end, BetMGM hired local legend and $320 million-valued entrepreneur Wayne Gretzky as a brand ambassador in Ontario. They also picked up Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid ($40 million) for the same purpose. Perhaps more relevant to Canadian bettors is that BetMGM has partnered with several Canada-friendly banking options such as Interac so that you can claim your welcome bonus and start betting quickly.
Gretzky is actually the second most-valuable athlete of all current and former sportspeople in Canada. The top spot goes to rally driver Peter Thomson, who hails from Toronto. Thomson holds a rather significant lead over his compatriot, with a reported worth of $11 billion. The 57-year-old is also one of just four athletes on Canada’s top ten richest list that isn’t an ice hockey player.
Taking third place is Mario Lemieux, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Montreal-born ice hockey player has a personal fortune of $193 million, making him slightly richer than fourth-place Joey Votto. Another Torontonian, Votto is still active with the Cincinnati Reds MLB team and was recently described as the archetype of what future Hall of Famers will look like going forward.
Our penultimate non-hockey player is the NBA’s Steve Nash, who was relieved of his position as the Brooklyn Nets head coach in 2022, after just two years in charge. Nash has a net worth of $122 million following lucrative spells at the LA Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks. The Canadian has an envious record on the court, winning MVP in consecutive years (2005 and 2006) and playing in the All-Star game eight times.
Now, here come the hockey players. Places 6-9 on the 2022 rich list are occupied by Sidney Crosby ($96 million), Chris Pronger ($84 million), Jarome Iginla ($77 million), and Joe Thornton (also $77 million). Of these, only Crosby is still active, although, the 43-year-old Joe Thornton is currently listed as a free agent. The Penguins’ Crosby is one of the younger players on this list, at the tender age of 35.
Finally, Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll is the tenth richest Canadian in the sporting world, with $64 million in the bank. Overall, more than $12bn is held by these superstars. However, if we take rally driver Thomson out, the figure is a much less bloated $1.17bn. That’s still a lot of houses on the cape.