NEWS
03/31/2016 15:32 EDT | Updated 04/01/2017 01:12 EDT

What to watch with no Canadian teams in NHL playoffs?

When the buzzer sounded on a 2-1 Senators win at Winnipeg on Wednesday night, Ottawa fans had the same sinking feeling those in the six other Canadian NHL cities had experienced in recent weeks.

Their team wouldn't be competing for the Stanley Cup, starting April 13, the first time all Canadian squads had been shut out since 1970.

So, how will millions of hockey-starved fans fill every second evening through the spring and early summer? Where will they get their sports fix? Below, we outline some options.

Toronto Blue Jays

Many Canadian NHL fans tend to shift their focus to Canada's lone major league team, but usually not until June. This isn't the worst year to start following early, though, as Toronto comes off its first playoff run in 22 years looking to build upon a 93-win season. An offensive powerhouse, the Blue Jays are fun to watch with the likes of reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson, sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and ultra-competitive ace pitcher Marcus Stroman.

Toronto Raptors

While you were busy reflecting on your favourite Canadian NHL team's lost season and tossing around what ifs, the country's lone NBA outfit was posting victories at a record clip. The Raptors reached No. 50 for the first time in franchise history with Wednesday's 105-97 verdict over Atlanta. Expect Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and their teammates to provide some competitive post-season action that many Canadian hockey fans are accustomed to this time of year.

Masters Golf Tournament

Ottawa Senators fans can easily remember the spring of 2003. Their team was battling New Jersey in the Eastern Conference final and Jeff Friesen broke their hearts with the winning goal late in regulation of Game 7. That spring, Mike Weir also won the Masters in Georgia, the first modern major championship won by a Canadian male. Weir, who has never come close to the form he showed that week in 2003, returns April 7 as the lone Canadian in the field for one of the most anticipated events of the golf season, complete with the beautiful azaleas at Augusta National Golf Club.

Canadian junior hockey

The first round of the playoffs is in full swing in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League. Fans across Canada can check out the stars of tomorrow, including potential first-round picks in this June's NHL draft in Buffalo such as Matthew Tkachuk (London, OHL), Alex Nylander (Mississauga, OHL), Julien Gauthier (Val-d'Or, QMJHL), Pierre-Luc Dubois (Cape Breton, QMJHL), Jake Bean (Calgary, WHL) and Simon Stransky (Prince Albert, WHL).

Milos Raonic

Canada's tennis star entered this week's Miami Open with a 14-2 record on the season, the kind of start any of the Canadian NHL teams would have taken back in October. The 25-year-old Raonic quickly put aside a disappointing 6-2, 6-0 loss to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final at Indian Wells in California, where the Thornhill, Ont., appeared to be suffering from the effects of an adductor injury that sidelined Raonic through February, to advance to the quarter-finals in Florida.

World figure skating championships

For those wanting to stick to sports on ice, there are exciting storylines for Canadians at this week's figure skating worlds in Boston, where the NHL Bruins were clinging to a playoff spot entering play Thursday. Toronto's Patrick Chan, who is competing at his first worlds in three years, was third after the men's short program. Fellow Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are the reigning world championships in pairs but have struggled this season, while few skaters have more on the line than ice dance champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were fourth in the short dance.

Major League Soccer

Here's a news flash: Canada's three MLS clubs held a top-five conference standing through Wednesday. The Montreal Impact, who lost to Columbus in last season's conference semifinals, sit atop the East with a 2-1 record. Toronto FC is fifth at 1-1-1 for four points and keeping with team president Bill Manning's eight-point target from the Reds' season-opening eight-game road trip. Forward Sebastian Giovinco, who last season was the first Toronto player to win the Golden Boot as the top goal-scorer in MLS, is someone to watch and already has two goals in three games. The news is also positive in Vancouver, where captain Pedro Morales tops the 2-2-0 Whitecaps and the league with four goals.

American Hockey League

If Canadian NHL fans can't watch their own team in playoff action, perhaps following their AHL affiliate would fill some of the void. But for some of those teams, there might only be a few weeks left in the season. The North Division-leading Toronto Marlies were the league's top team at 48-15-5 through Wednesday and have clinched a playoff berth. Vancouver's affiliate, the Utica Comets, are third in the North and appear playoff-bound, with Bakersfield (Edmonton) and Stockton (Calgary) still vying for a spot in the Pacific. Outside the playoff picture is St. John's (Montreal Canadiens), Binghamton (Ottawa Senators) and Manitoba (Winnipeg Jets).