It's the most wonderful time of the year.
When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind?
Do you think of a decorated tree surrounded by presents?
How about stockings hung by the chimney with care?
Is it time spent with family and friends, enjoying big meals and lots of laughs?
Or do you think of the World Junior Championship — the music we all know too well, late nights and early mornings, big goals and heartbreaking losses?
For hockey fans, Christmas is synonymous with the World Junior Championship, a tournament that captivates our hearts and imaginations each winter and introduces us to tomorrow's hockey superstars.
Team Canada is finalized and ready to play for World Junior gold. Hockey Canada released the final five players Friday night after the team completed its four-day selection camp with a 5-2 win over Team Denmark in St. Catharines.
Canada’s World Junior roster will be rich with returnees in all three areas of the ice. Headlining the list of invitees to Hockey Canada’s selection camp are seven returning players: a goalie (Carter Hart), three forwards (Dillon Dube, Taylor Raddysh and Michael McLeod) and three defencemen (Kale Clague, Jake Bean and Dante Fabbro).
The year was 2005. Facebook was still a novelty. George W. had just started his second term. The NHL lockout was in full swing. And Team Canada came back from a lockout of their own by securing gold after being kept off the top of the podium for seven painful years.
Probably the most difficult thing for a home team to endure is the agony and disappointment of having to watch the visitors celebrate a championship right in front of them and their faithful fans.
It’s going to be a dream matchup in the gold medal game when Canada and the United States go head-to-head with 2017 World Junior bragging rights on the line.
For many hockey purists, winning a game via shootout is basically settling the score through a skills competition. They firmly believe that if a game is tied after 60 minutes, it should be determined by a goal in overtime with play continuing until someone scores no matter how long it takes.
It was really special if you are a Swiss fan because they downed Denmark in a dramatic 5-4 shootout win. Forward Marco Miranda was the hero for Switzerland scoring the only goal in the shootout.
A well used timeout can pay off in dividends, and I’m sure Team Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme found that out the hard way Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
The Canadians appeared unstoppable at the World Juniors. That was until the Americans put on a shot-blocking clinic to claim first place in Group B with a 3-1 win Saturday in their final preliminary-round game at the Air Canada Centre.
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