Contributed Photo / Habs Eyes on the Prize
Team Canada at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
The World Junior Ice Hockey Championships are an annual tradition every hockey fan can look forward to.
The games are action-packed and exciting every year. Not only this, but the tournament also gives fans a nice break from the NHL and a chance to cheer for their home country.
For the first time since 2014, this year’s edition of the World Juniors takes place in Sweden, more specifically in the city of Gothenburg. Despite the tournament being played overseas, Team Canada hoped to win their third straight World Junior gold medal.
After capturing gold in 2022 and in January 2023, the Canadians attempted to be the first team since 2009 to win three gold medals in a row.
“I think this year is going to be a lot tighter, and [all] the teams look real good,” said Hadee Jehangeer, a third-year user experience design student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford who said he’s excited for this year’s World Juniors.
Team Canada brought a strong roster to this year’s tournament and while some believe this team may not be on par with previous ones, they looked like gold medal contenders regardless.
“Some players to watch on Team Canada are Macklin Celebrini, Jordan Dumais and Easton Cowan. Each of these players have been so impactful in their own respect and I believe they will continue to produce heavily for Team Canada this tournament,” said Jehangeer.
Outside of Canada, Team Finland rivals Team United States and this year’s hosts Team Sweden also look like contenders for the World Junior gold medal.
When asked about the other teams, Jehangeer noted Team United States as Canada’s biggest competition this year, as well as American forward Cutter Gauthier, naming him as “someone to watch.”
Regardless of who wins, this year’s tournament is sure to be memorable.
When asked about previous tournaments, Jehangeer said his “best memory that comes to mind was the 2015 championship run.”
“I remember being so young and watching Team Canada play in the finals against Team Russia holding on for gold. It was really thrilling seeing such a stacked team with players such as McDavid, Point, Duclair and Morrissey playing in the World Juniors for Canada and winning gold,” said Jehangeer.
Team Canada will look to create another memorable experience for fans and to win another gold medal this year.
The World Juniors began on Dec. 26, 2023. Canada started the first two days off victorious against Finland and Latvia, but fell short 2-0 against Sweden on day three. In the final match of the preliminary round, Canada took a 6-3 win over Germany on New Year’s Eve.
Sadly for fans, Canada left the tournament after a 3-2 loss to Czechia on Jan. 2, despite beating them in overtime during last year’s championships.
“If we thought we weren’t going to get challenged in this tournament and we weren’t going to face this adversity, we’d be pretty naive,” said Team Canada’s head coach Alan Letang. “The belief hasn’t changed. It’s not wavering.”
With their tournament coming to an unfortunate early exit, Team Canada is now looking towards next year’s World Juniors, which start on Dec. 26, 2024 and are taking place in Ottawa, Ont.