This is truly the greatest time of the year. The fireplaces are roaring, sweatpants are on, and holiday eating is in full swing. Come Boxing Day, we’ll all be adding our national jerseys to our holiday attire, too. ‘Tis the season for family, sharing, eating, and, of course, the World Juniors.
This event is hockey in its purest form. Teenagers playing for nothing but the emblem on the front of their sweaters, willing to run through a wall and jump shoulder-first into the glass after scoring a big goal. There’s really nothing like it.
The Canadians enter this year’s tournament looking to defend their crown from… last August. No nation has repeated since the Canadians won a whopping five in a row between 2005 and 2009. They’re bringing eight returnees from that gold medal-winning group from the summer World Juniors, looking to start a streak of their own.
They’ll need every one of them to be at the top of their games to fend off the competition. Canada’s assembled the most star power and household names on their roster, but they are far from the only team bringing high-end talent. The Americans, Swedes, and Finns all brought top-flight rosters all their own, with play drivers and future stars ready to bring the crowd out of their seats.
Slovakia and Czechia will boast their own top NHL prospects and will look to play spoiler – they wouldn’t have it any other way.
With all that in mind, let’s take a spin around the Magic 8-ball and predict how the tournament will shake out.