Finland’s 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the gold medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship completed the puzzle for the 2015 tournament; the 10 teams who will compete in Toronto and Montreal, and the groups they will play in, have been decided.
The preliminary round spotlight will be on Group A in Montreal, where Canada’s National Junior Team will be joined by the last two teams to win gold at the World Juniors – Finland, which won this year’s tournament in Malmö, Sweden, and the United States, which was victorious in 2013 in Ufa, Russia.
That means the three countries that own nine of the last 11 gold medals – Canada (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), the U.S. (2004, 2010, 2013) and Finland (2014) will all be on the ice at the Bell Centre.
Germany and Slovakia round out the Group A five-some.
In Toronto, Sweden, silver medallist in each of the last two years, will be joined in Group B by Russia, which has won back-to-back bronze medals, as well as the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Denmark, which earned promotion thanks to its gold medal at the Division I, Group A tournament.
The groups for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship are based on the final standings from the 2014 tournament (in parentheses):
United States (5)
Czech Republic (6)
Both Toronto and Montreal will host a preliminary round group, as well as two of the cross-over quarter-finals. Toronto will host the relegation series, semifinals, bronze medal game and gold medal game.
When the tournament returns to the two cities in 2017, the format will be reversed; Montreal will host the relegation series, semifinals, bronze medal game and gold medal game.