Officially, there have been 41 World Junior tournaments, plus another three if you count the 1974 to 1976 tourneys.
HockeyNow has been there now for the last 19, 20 counting this year. I was a massive fan much earlier but like most of us, it wasn’t until TSN along with Hockey Canada and the IIHF took the event to another level that the tournament became a staple must-watch event for me.
The first event I remember paying attention to was in 1982. I was 11 and I can’t recall why, but there were a few games on TV, it was Christmas and I had spare time! From then on, I was hooked. Seeing these young guys playing with the whole country behind them, it just sort of clicked for me that this was something pretty special.
My favourite WJC moments over the years are countless.
The punch up in Piestany in 1987. I’ll never forget watching that live. It was surreal.
Canada winning gold for the first time in 1982. What a moment.
Losing to Kazakhstan in 1998.
2013, 2014 and 2016 with no medal at all.
Toews’ multiple shootout winners in 2007.
Both five gold in a row runs.
Both NHL lockout years, which gave all countries unreal rosters. Canada had rosters that were off the charts, with storylines galore.
Of course, there is always plenty of hand wringing every time we don’t dominate, which quickly snowballs into questions of what needs to be “fixed” in our hockey program.
And everyone seems to have a lot to say about how we can’t produce goalies any more. But you won’t hear that here. My personal prediction is Carter Hart will win goalie of the tournament.
Every year when it's over I always feel a bit down because outside of a couple of NHL Stanley Cup matchups, we’ve just witnessed the best hockey of the year and will need to wait another year.
But until it does, I’ll just go on loving this peak season.
Apart from the World Juniors, there is so much good hockey right now. The World Junior A Challenge just wrapped up, there are dozens of huge Christmas tournaments from the minor ranks, and of course this year we also have the Olympics to look forward to.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Enjoy the World Juniors, make sure to follow us as we bring you all the latest from Buffalo, and enjoy your Christmas. Go Canada!
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