Hockey Canada Network |
News
2008 IIHF World Junior Championship Preview
WJC.017.07
|
December 25, 2007
|
|

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic - There is no such a thing as an easy game at the World Junior Hockey Championship and defending champion Canada faces a rugged road at the 2008 best-on-best tournament.

Canada opens the pressure-packed 10-team even against the Czech Republic on Boxing Day and then plays Slovakia on Thursday and then finishes a string of three games in four days against Sweden on Saturday.

A year ago, Canada won its third straight gold medal at the World Junior Championship and had to beat the United States in a lengthy shootout in the semifinal before they played Russia in the gold medal final.

Canada, Russia and the United States are considered pre-tournament favorites this year.

The Canadian team is the country's fifth-youngest of the last 25 years with an average age just under 19. Four of the seven defencemen are 18.

The United States has six players back from the squad that lost 2-1 in the thrilling semifinal shootout against Canada a year ago.

Canada has won the annual junior championship 13 times, once more than the Russians.

"We're going to go there pretending we're the New England Patriots and everybody hates us," Team Canada captain Karl Alzner said last week. "Last year, it was a really big deal to win for the first time overseas in a long time. We want to keep winning overseas.

"It's not an option for us to settle for second-best or third-best. We really want to win again."

After Canada and the Czechs, Pool A includes Sweden, Slovakia and newcomer Denmark.

Pool B includes Russia, the U.S., Finland, Switzerland and Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is back after a seven-year absence.

The first-place finisher in each pool gets a bye into the semifinals. The second-and third-place teams in each pool cross over to meet in the quarter-finals. The final will be played on Jan. 5

When Canada mined gold last year on Olympic-size ice in Sweden, it was Canada's first world junior gold in Europe since it defeated the United States in 1997 in Geneva.

The Czech line-up has been bolstered by more than a handful of teenagers who in the Canadian Hockey League, including Jakub Voracek of the Halifax Mooseheads.

The Czechs won back-to-back titles in 20, but their only other medal was a bronze in 2005.

The World Junior Championship is a holiday tradition in Canada that continues to grow every year.

"The country of Canada basically sits down on the couch for two weeks and watches these games," said former NHL defenceman Tom Kurvers, who now scouts for the Phoenix Coyotes. "They'll watch whatever countries are playing and then paint their faces red and cheer for Canada when they're on."


For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557
abrin@hockeycanada.ca

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada
403-777-4553
jlarose@hockeycanada.ca

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427
klipscombe@hockeycanada.ca

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
kgoodrich@hockeycanada.ca

facebook.com/hockeycanada

twitter.com/hockeycanada

youtube.com/hockeycanadavideos

Videos
Photos
2014 WU18C: CAN 3 - SWE 1
Apr 17, 2014
Virtanen scored twice to lead Canada to the tournament-opening win.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – USA 1
Mar 30, 2014
U18 women win gold.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 1 – RUS 0 (OT)
Mar 29, 2014
Canada edges Russia in overtime.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – CZE 0
Mar 26, 2014
Canadians shut out Czechs.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – FIN 0
Mar 24, 2014
U18 women blank Finland.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – JPN 1
Mar 23, 2014
Canada starts Worlds with win
2014 PARA: CAN 3 – NOR 0 (Bronze)
Mar 15, 2014
Billy Bridges scored a pair of goals to lead Canada to a Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: USA 3 – CAN 0 (Semifinal)
Mar 13, 2014
Corbin Watson made seven saves, but Canada will play for Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: CAN 1 – CZE 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 11, 2014
Westlake scored the lone goal to help Canada to a perfect preliminary round.
2014 PARA: CAN 4 – NOR 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 09, 2014
Adam Dixon scored twice to lead Canada to its second straight win in Sochi.
2014 PARA: CAN 10 – SWE 1 (Preliminary)
Mar 08, 2014
Gale, Dixon and Rempel had four points each to lead Canada to a win.
2010 OLYW: Flag Raising
Feb 10, 2010
Canada's National Women's Team taking part in the Flag Raising ceremony at the Olympic Village in Vancouver, B.C.
Schedule
Close
Credit  
Close
Photo Credit: