Just the Facts:
What is it?: Teenager hockey at the highest level being played in Moncton and Halifax!
When is it?: Right now! It starts today, the prelims finish up on New Year’s Eve, and then the medal round begins after the new year. The Finals/Relegation round finishes on January 5th.
Where can I watch it?: TSN in Canada, NHLN in the states, apparently TUBI will also have it if you stream your hockey.
Who’s the defending champs?: Canada
Why should I care?: Why, you get to see the NHL stars of tomorrow face off for World Juniors glory! Fabian Lysell and Dans Locmelis get to wow you before they ever wear Black and Gold!
Also it’s pretty inoffensive hockey that people get super wound up over so there aught to be some good yucks at their expense. Plus, relegation’s finally back on the menu! Those games in my opinion are usually the best ones to watch so I’m excited!
Bruins at the World Juniors
- Sweden will be taking Providence’s Fabian Lysell, who’s been at 19 points in 20 AHL games, and will likely be looking to bring Sweden back to medaling on a higher octane team than they’ve brought in recent years.
- Latvia is probably seconds from the Relegator’s axe all tournament, but that doesn’t mean their Bruin of choice, Dans Locmelis, who’s been tearing up the J20 Nationell in Sweden to the tune of 33 points in 27 games and looking to go help UMass remain the unbeatable juggernaut that it’s been next year. LAT! VIJ! A!
Group A in Halifax
- Hey wow did you know Canada’s loaded and will probably contend for gold this year that’s crazy anyway still hoping this org burns to the ageless earth so let’s move on to the literally anybody else
- SWEDEN! Homeland of Lysell, Nordic home of the once and future Saab, and a much different team than you might expect: Normally Sweden likes to focus on their strengths of impressive defense and goaltending, but recent years have not been kind to this approach...so they just packed their forward group full of talent. Fabian of course is the highlight for our purposes, but there’s a good number of 2023 draftees expected to be taken from their skaters, opting for more untested talent on the backend. We will find out if this is an approach that is tenable for Tre Kronor, it’s certainly going to make for a much more exciting team in Yellow and Blue.
- Czechia! No Bruins this time, though they are the winners of the “two first names” competition by bringing Marcel Marcel to the party. They themselves are always fun; bringing Svozil and Jiricek to head up a much better looking defense than they’ve had in years past, along with just some of the biggest boys at forward you’ve ever seen; like Petr Hauser, Jaroslav Chmelar, and Matyas Sapovaliv. No Lukas Dostal though, he’s long aged out, so their goaltending’s gonna be a bit of a question mark. Keep an eye on Jiri Kulich; that kid’s playmaking skill is something else.
- Germany I’m afraid has sent most of it’s really good players to the NHL or aged out these days, and the ones who are left are still very green; playing in different levels of the DEL. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it highlights that they have a razor thin margin of error. Their game against Austria may be their sole way out of this.
- Austria will be appearing in this tournament as “guy in horror movie who gets killed the hardest”. Everyone point and go “HEEEEY!” when you recognize them! Also, props to the AlpsHL for being so heavily represented this time around; I think like 90% of the team came from that one league.
Group B, in Moncton
- Team USA’s roster sounds completely made up. They’re also a massive boon for the NCAA as it appears they’ve gone and filled the roster up with college boys on break who will be the biggest threat to Canada as far as we know; they’re faster than usual, they’re definitely smaller than usual, so we’ll see if USA’s insistence on making game situations to come back from changes a little bit due to the more up-tempo style expected of them.
- I was going to praise Finland for trying to go straight back to the medal rounds, but then they went and played a much closer game against Switzerland than anybody was expecting, so I think “slow starts” will become a major point of emphasis for Leijonat. They have the talent to medal, they just can’t play like they did today in order to even come close.
- Meanwhile, SWITZERLAND! Where did you come from!? You’ve got a grand total of two NHL prospects on your side and you’re playing great! You’re attacking the net, you’re not letting goals get you down, you’re getting greasy ones where you can...if you can do this for at least one other game? You could medal. Against all this other talent, you could medal. That’s crazy.
- But don’t forget, Slovakia is still around here creepin’, and they brought that metric buttload of prospect talent with them, which is still not done; Dali Dvorsky is slated to be drafted, as is Maxim Strbak; combine that with guys like Mesar, Zlinka, and Sykora? There’s intrigue here; but they have to work hard with Simon Latkoczky, the Slovakian hero in net, having aged out. They’re primed to cause somebody (The USA) some real trouble.
- Dans Locmelis’ Latvia is always passionate. That doesn’t always mean good. But they’re gonna work their asses off; even if it means they have to work hard to not get relegated. Keep your heads high, Latvia, you always bring us something fun when you’re here!