Welcome one and all to the inaugural edition of The Junior Report.
The King of the BHF kingdom Mr. Gee Hall inquired if anyone like to do a few write up’s on the IIHF u20 world championship also known as the World Juniors. I jumped at the chance like a umm like a ok I dont have a good metaphor right now If I think of one I’ll let you know.
Growing up in Canada, The World Junior tournament is a Christmas tradition, along with Egg Nog and snowy weather and Christmas Specials on TV it’s part of the season and something I look forward to every year. The tournament started all the way back in 1977. (They did play similar tournaments 1974-76 but they were never official) Since 1977 the Medal table has been dominated by Canada and Soviet Union/Russia. Combined the teams have won 28 of the 36 gold medals.
Im sure I have watched the tournament since entering this World in October of 86′ but my first tournament I really recall was held in 1995 just up the road from Calgary in Red Deer Alberta. That year is a round-robin format with the top 3 teams winning Gold,Silver,Bronze respectably. Canada took Gold that year and was so good they dominated. That domination continued until 1998 when Canada put up a stinker and finished 8th overall (Canada’s worst ever finish in the tournament). They failed to win gold again until 2005 when they went on a streak of 5 straight gold medals they last one being in 2009. Canada ended up finish 4th last year failing to win a medal since that disappointing 1998 year.
That brings us to the 2014 edition of the World Juniors. As I am writing this Canada had just finished playing 3 “pre-competition” games winning 2 and losing 1. Despite winning 2 games in my eyes Canada hasn’t been playing that dominating run over you style that I come to expect from them. TSN Hockey Analyst Bob McKenzie has noted that this years version of Team Canada lacks in speed but excels in Hockey IQ meaning they play a very smart game. In Game 1 they came out flat against Finland falling behind 2-0 before coming from behind to win it 4-2. 16 year old Connor McDavid (Eligible 2015) was the best player for Team Canada getting 2 assists. Game 2 was the same as Game 1 coming out flat against a fantastic Sweden team being outshot in the first period 16-5. This time however Canada never got really anything going and lost the game 3-0 . Despite losing 3-0 the best player on the ice for Team Canada was goaltender Jake Paterson (2012,3rd Round,80th overall,Detroit Red Wings). Paterson again got the start in the 3rd game against the Swiss, Again Canada come out flat took an early penalty and were down 1-0 early. Before the Swiss took about 56 penalties in a row Canada gained a 2-1 lead then won the game 4-1. A better game overall but I still see lots of room for improvement. Canada was on the power play a lot this game and I don’t think they executed all there chances to well. Jonathon Drouin (2013, 1st Round 3rd overall Tampa Bay Lightning) put 2 up on the board and played a very sound game.
The Real games start December 26th Boxing Day here in Canada. While others are waiting in line at 5am for a discount on a new TV I will be watching Canada open up the tourney against Germany. Its going to be a tough road back to Gold for Canada this year and I will be your guide along the way.
Thanks For Reading!