This year 10 teams will compete in the 38th World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden over the holiday period. The 10 teams are made up of the best hockey players under the age of 20 from around the world. Divided into two divisions of 5 teams, each team will play four games in the Preliminary Round. The top 4 teams from each division will go on to the Playoff Round while the bottom team from each side will play in the Relegation Round.
The team from the United States is the defending champ. Since hockey is Canada’s national sport it was a disappointment that they didn’t win any medal losing 6-5 in overtime to Russia in the bronze medal game last year in Ufa, Russia. This year they will be looking for some revenge and to restore national pride. Canada is in Group A with the United States, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Group B consists of Russia, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Norway.
The pressure is on the home side, Sweden, who won the silver medal last year. They have 11 players returning from last year’s team. Led by Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators), Sebastien Collberg (Montreal Canadiens’ draft choice) and Elias Lindholm (Carolina Hurricanes) they will be strong. The U.S. has a couple of players that people are familiar with like Stefan Matteau (from the Albany Devils) and goalkeeper Anthony Stolarz (from the London Knights).
Coach Brent Sutter, returning as coach after leading Canada to gold in 2005 and 2006, is leading a team that is largely an unknown quantity with only a few known players. Those known players include Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay Lightning), Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens), Connor McDavid (predicted to go as the number one choice in the 2015 draft), and Mathew Dumba (Minnesota Wild). Other players to keep your eye on include Charles Hudon (draft choice of the Montreal Canadiens), Sam Reinhart (Kootnay), Bo Horvat (draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks) and Anthony Mantha (Val D’Or).
Canada’s first game is on Boxing Day (December 26) against Germany. The tournament will be broadcast in Canada on TSN.
-Dates: December 26, 2013 – January 5, 2014
-Location: Malmo, Sweden