World Junior Hockey Championship: Canada wants to taste gold again

The tradition is back, back to normal this time! For the first time in three years, the World Junior Hockey Championship will be back to what made it so successful: it will be presented during the holiday season, in front of spectators.

World Junior Hockey Championship: Canada wants to taste gold again

The tradition is back, back to normal this time! For the first time in three years, the World Junior Hockey Championship will be back to what made it so successful: it will be presented during the holiday season, in front of spectators. Canada, champion of the last edition, last August, will try to repeat its feat, but it will have competition. Overview of the forces involved.


Result in 2022: Gold medal

Players to watch

Connor Bedard (2023), Shane Wright (SEA), Dylan Guenther (ARI), Brandt Clarke (LA)

Junior Team Canada enters the tournament as the big favourites.

Not only does the Canadian team have nine players who won gold last August, but they also received a boost from three NHL teams who agreed to loan them a player to the tournament, namely Shane Wright (Seattle), Dylan Guenther (Arizona) and Brandt Clarke (Los Angeles).

Scoring goals will not be a problem for the Canadian team, which has also relied on the size of the defense.

Other than Olen Zellweger and his 5'10", none of the six defensemen on the roster is under 6'2".

The big question remains in net, since Benjamin Gaudreau and Thomas Milic are not the biggest names.

We will also be watching closely the three Quebecers on the team: Nathan Gaucher, Joshua Roy and Tyson Hinds.


Result in 2022: Bronze medal

Players to watch

Fabian Lysell (BOS), Liam Öhgren (MIN), Noah Östlund (BUF), Leo Carlsson (2023)

The Swedes have been in the game every year, but they haven't won gold since the 2012 triumph at the tournament in Calgary and Edmonton.

Sweden have accustomed us to teams built by the defense and it will be a little different this year. Simon Edvinsson has declined the offer to represent his country so Sweden will rely on a young and inexperienced squad. Canadian third-round pick Adam Engstrom should play an important role in this squad.

On offense, Sweden will rely on several formidable weapons. The Fabian Lysell, Noah Östlund, Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Liam Öhgren, Isak Rosén and Filip Bystedt should be able to contribute offensively, as should top-flight prospect for the next draft Leo Carlsson.

The Swedes should offer the best Group A opposition in Canada.

They will face off on December 31.


Result in 2022: 4th place

Players to watch

Jiri Kulich (BUF), David Jiricek (CLB), Eduard Sale (2023), Stanislav Svozil (CLB)

Like Canada, the Czech Republic also got a little boost from some NHL teams, namely the Buffalo Sabers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who respectively agreed to loan them forward Jiri Kulich and defender David Jiricek for the duration of the competition.

Expect these two first-round picks to have a huge impact on the Czech roster as they were on the roster last August when the Czech Republic upset the tournament by eliminating the United States in quarter-finals.

The Czech Republic decided to bring a young team last summer and it could pay off since 16 players from this edition will be back this year.


Result in 2022: 6th place

Players to watch

Bennett Rossmy, Julian Lutz (ARI), Haakon Hanelt (WSH)

After a happy streak in which Germany fielded future NHL stars on their roster, including Moritz Seider and Tim Stützle, it's been tougher for them in the past two years and the tournament should be no exception.

Forward Bennet Rossmy, who made many eyes widen last August by finishing with four goals in five games, should lead the charge for the German squad along with the second round choice of the Arizona Coyotes in the last draft Julian Lutz.

Rossmy has been passed over in the last two NHL Entry Drafts and another strong showing on the international stage could convince a Bettman League team to give him a chance.


Result in 2022: 10th place

Players to watch

Vinzenz Rohrer (MTL), David Reinbacher (2023), Ian Scherzer (2023)

The challenge will be daunting for Austria, which finished last in August. If it is back in the main tournament, it is because the International Hockey Federation had decided not to relegate any team due to the pandemic situation.

This time it will be different and Austria will try to avoid returning to Division 1A next year. Admittedly, the Austrians lack the depth of the best nations in the world, but they will be interesting to watch.

Canadian prospect Vinzenz Rohrer should be an offensive leader for his team, which has two interesting prospects heading into the upcoming NHL Draft, forward Ian Scherzer and defenseman David Reinbacher.

In Reinbacher's case, the defender is increasingly establishing himself as a potential first-round pick next June.

United States

Result in 2022: 5th place

Players to watch

Luke Hughes (NJ), Logan Cooley (ARI), Jimmy Snuggerud (STL), Cutter Gauthier (PHI)

The United States disappointed last August. There is no other way to say it. After finishing the preliminary round with four wins, they lost to Czechia in the quarter-finals, robbing them of a chance for a second straight gold medal.

The Americans will be back with several offensive weapons, starting with defenseman Luke Hughes who is already among the favorites for the defender of the tournament title.

Third choice of the last draft by the Arizona Coyotes, Logan Cooley should also be a constant threat in attack.

It is in front of the net that the biggest questions remain, while Kaiden Mbereko and Trey Augustine will form the tandem.

It will also be necessary to watch the small defenseman and hope of the Canadian Lane Hutson, who is having an excellent first season in the NCAA.


Result in 2022: Silver medal

Players to watch

Joakim Kemell (NSH), Brad Lambert (WIN), Oliver Kapanen (MTL), Aleksi Heimosalmi (CAR)

Finland were just one goal away from gold just a few months ago when they lost in extra time to Canada in the August Grand Final.

The Scandinavian formation will present a different face this year, since several big names from the last tournament will not be back, starting with attackers Aatu Räty, Roni Hirvonen, Kasper Simontaival and Roby Järventie, as well as defenders Topi Niemela and Kasper Puutio.

Their best scorer from last August, Joakim Kemell, will however be back and should be the cornerstone of the Finnish attack along with Brad Lambert who will have the opportunity to make amends after a very disappointing tournament in August during which he had been left out twice by coach Antti Pennanen.


Result in 2022: 8th place

Players to watch

Attilio Biasca, Lian Bichsel (DAL), Brian Zanetti (PHI)

Switzerland always sells its skin dearly. On paper, however, the Helvetii look more like a team that will battle with Austria, Germany and Latvia to avoid relegation.

Halifax Mooseheads forward Attilio Biasca, who finished first in team scoring last August with six points in five games, will look to build on his momentum.

It will be interesting to see how the 6'4", 209 lb colossus Lian Bichsel will be used in the Swiss camp.

The Dallas Stars' first-round pick in the last draft should be the mainstay of his team on the blue line and will have the mission of stopping, as best he can, the best opposing forwards.


Result in 2022: 9th place

Players to watch

Filip Mesar (MTL), Simon Nemec (NJ), Dalibor Dvorsky (2023), Adam Sykora (NYR)

Failing to rely on Montreal Canadiens great winger Juraj Slafkovsky, the Slovaks received good news when the New Jersey Devils agreed to loan them the second overall pick of the last NHL Draft, defenseman Simon Nemec .

He will be supported by another hope of the Canadian, the small and dynamic striker Filip Mesar as well as by the young Dalibor Dvorsky who, after a first experience in August, should be able to contribute more in the coming edition.

The Slovaks may not have the depth of some other countries, but their best elements could make them strong contenders for second in the group, behind the United States.


Result in 2022: 7th place

Players to watch

Sandis Vilmanis (FLO), Niks Fenenko, Dans Locmelis (BOS)

The Latvians were without a shadow of a doubt the great story of the last World Junior Hockey Championship, last August in Edmonton.

They picked up their first victory in more than 10 years at this tournament, beating the Czechs 5-2, then reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, coming close to tricking Sweden in this playoff match they eventually lost 2-1.

It remains to be seen if they will be able to recreate this magic in December, since, on paper, the Latvians have a few good elements, but nothing to suggest that the elimination rounds are within their reach, again this year.

However, let's not count them for beaten right away.