IIHF World U20 Championship
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IIHF World U20 Championship

IIHF World U20 Championship
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event2019 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
SportIce hockey
Inaugural season1974 (unofficial)
1977 (official)
No. of teams10
Most recent
champion(s)
 Finland (5th title)
Most titles Canada (17 titles)
Relegation toDivision I
Official websiteIIHF.com

The IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Championships (WJC), commonly known simply as the World Juniors, are an annual event organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for national under-20 ice hockey teams from around the world. They are traditionally held in late December, ending in early January. The tournament usually attracts top hockey players in this age category. However, some NHL teams do not release their top players as the tournament overlaps with the NHL season.

The main tournament features the top ten ranked hockey nations in the world, comprising the 'Top Division', from which a world champion is crowned. There are also three lower pools--Divisions I, II and III--that each play separate tournaments playing for the right to be promoted to a higher pool, or face relegation to a lower pool.

The competition's profile is particularly high in Canada; its stature has been credited to Canada's strong performance in the tournament (it has won the gold medal seventeen times since its inception), the role of hockey in Canadian culture, along with strong media coverage and fan attendance. As such, in recent years, nearly half of the tournaments have been held in Canadian cities, with the remainder being held in Europe and the United States.

Finland is the defending champion of the tournament, after having beaten the United States to win the 2019 edition in Vancouver, British Columbia.

History

The first official tournament was held in 1977, although the first three tournaments from 1974 to 1976 were held unofficially.[1] The tournament has been dominated by the teams from Soviet Union/CIS/Russia and Canada, together accounting for 30 of the 42 overall gold medals awarded (through 2019). The USSR won the first four official tournaments, while the Canadians put together five straight championships between 1993 and 1997, and another five straight from 2005 to 2009. Canada leads the all-time gold medal count with 17 golds, while the Soviet Union, the CIS and Russia combined have 13 golds.

When it began, the World Junior Championship was a relatively obscure tournament. It has since grown in prestige, particularly in Canada, where the tournament ranks as one of the most important events on the sports calendar and during the holiday season. The Globe and Mail writer Bruce Dowbiggin credits TSN, along with Canada's strong performance at the tournament, for turning it from an obscure non-event when it acquired the rights in 1991 (which, however, also began growing in prominence due to the Punch-up in Piestany) to one of Canada's most beloved annual sports events, and at the same time cementing the link between Canadian nationalism and hockey, and inspiring the NHL's Winter Classic[2][3] Based on increasing attendances for countries repeatedly hosting the event[], the popularity of the tournament seems to be growing in other nations as well.

At editions of the tournament held in the country, games involving Team Canada consistently sell out NHL arenas, offering large profit guarantees to Hockey Canada and the IIHF.[4] In the 21st Century, Canada has and will continue to host the tournament every second or third year due to the significantly greater following the tournament has in Canada compared to other participating countries. Originally, Switzerland was selected to host the WJHC in 2010, but withdrew.[5]Buffalo, New York, USA hosted the tournament in 2011 and 2018; in both cases, proximity to Canada's population core in Southern Ontario was a key factor in the city winning the bidding rights.[6]

The tournament offers one of the most prestigious stages for young hockey players, able to significantly boost a player's value for upcoming NHL Entry Drafts.[3]

Punch-up in Piestany

One of the most infamous incidents in WJC history occurred in 1987 in Piestany, Czechoslovakia (now part of Slovakia), where a bench-clearing brawl occurred between Canada and the Soviet Union. It began when the Soviet Union's Pavel Kostichkin took a two-handed slash at Canadian player Theoren Fleury. The Soviet Union's Evgeny Davydov then came off the bench, eventually leading to both benches emptying. The officials, unable to break up the fight, left the ice and eventually tried shutting off the arena lights, but the brawl lasted for 20 minutes before the IIHF declared the game null and void. A 35-minute emergency meeting was held, resulting in the delegates voting 7-1 (the sole dissenter was Canadian Dennis McDonald) to eject both teams from the tournament. The Canadian team chose to leave rather than stay for the end-of-tournament dinner, from which the Soviet team was banned.

While the Soviets were out of medal contention, Canada was playing for the gold medal and was leading 4-2 at the time of the brawl. The gold medal ultimately went to Finland, hosts Czechoslovakia took the silver and Sweden, who had previously been eliminated from medal contention, was awarded the bronze.[7]

Medalists

The winners by season listed below.

Unofficial tournaments

Official tournaments

Key
  • (#) Number of tournaments (or 2nd placed/3rd places) won at the time.
Year 1st, gold medalist(s) Gold 2nd, silver medalist(s) Silver 3rd, bronze medalist(s) Bronze Host city (cities) Host country (countries)
1977  Soviet Union (1)  Canada (1)  Czechoslovakia (1) Zvolen and Banská Bystrica  Czechoslovakia
1978  Soviet Union (2)  Sweden (1)  Canada (1) Montreal and Quebec City  Canada
1979  Soviet Union (3)  Czechoslovakia (1)  Sweden (1) Karlstad and Karlskoga  Sweden
1980  Soviet Union (4)  Finland (1)  Sweden (2) Helsinki and Vantaa  Finland
1981  Sweden (1)  Finland (2)  Soviet Union (1) Füssen, Landsberg and Kaufbeuren  West Germany
1982  Canada (1)  Czechoslovakia (2)  Finland (1) Bloomington, Minneapolis and Duluth
Winnipeg and Kenora
 United States
 Canada
1983  Soviet Union (5)  Czechoslovakia (3)  Canada (2) Leningrad  Soviet Union
1984  Soviet Union (6)  Finland (3)  Czechoslovakia (2) Norrköping and Nyköping  Sweden
1985  Canada (2)  Czechoslovakia (4)  Soviet Union (2) Helsinki and Turku  Finland
1986  Soviet Union (7)  Canada (2)  United States (1) Hamilton, Toronto and London  Canada
1987  Finland[?](1)  Czechoslovakia[?](5)  Sweden[?](3) Pieany, Topoany, Tren?ín and Nitra  Czechoslovakia
1988  Canada (3)  Soviet Union (1)  Finland (2) Moscow  Soviet Union
1989  Soviet Union (8)  Sweden (2)  Czechoslovakia (3) Anchorage and Eagle River  United States
1990  Canada (4)  Soviet Union (2)  Czechoslovakia (4) Helsinki and Turku  Finland[?]
1991  Canada (5)  Soviet Union (3)  Czechoslovakia (5) Saskatoon and Regina  Canada
1992  CIS [8](9)  Sweden (3)  United States (2) Füssen and Kaufbeuren  Germany
1993  Canada (6)  Sweden (4) Czech and Slovak Republics [9](6) Gävle, Uppsala and Falun  Sweden
1994  Canada (7)  Sweden (5)  Russia (1) Ostrava and Frýdek-Místek  Czech Republic
1995  Canada (8)  Russia (1)  Sweden (4) Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary  Canada
1996  Canada (9)  Sweden (6)  Russia (2) Boston, Amherst and Marlborough  United States
1997  Canada (10)  United States (1)  Russia (3) Geneva and Morges   Switzerland
1998  Finland (2)  Russia (2)   Switzerland (1) Helsinki and Hämeenlinna  Finland
1999  Russia (1)  Canada (3)  Slovakia (1) Winnipeg, Brandon and Selkirk  Canada
2000  Czech Republic (1)  Russia (3)  Canada (3) Skellefteå and Umeå  Sweden
2001  Czech Republic (2)  Finland (4)  Canada (4) Moscow and Podolsk  Russia
2002  Russia (2)  Canada (4)  Finland (3) Pardubice and Hradec Králové  Czech Republic
2003  Russia (3)  Canada (5)  Finland (4) Halifax and Sydney  Canada
2004  United States (1)  Canada (6)  Finland (5) Helsinki and Hämeenlinna  Finland
2005  Canada (11)  Russia (4)  Czech Republic (1) Grand Forks and Thief River Falls  United States
2006  Canada (12)  Russia (5)  Finland (6) Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops  Canada
2007  Canada (13)  Russia (6)  United States (3) Leksand and Mora  Sweden
2008  Canada (14)  Sweden (7)  Russia (4) Pardubice and Liberec  Czech Republic
2009  Canada (15)  Sweden (8)  Russia (5) Ottawa  Canada
2010  United States (2)  Canada (7)  Sweden (5) Saskatoon and Regina  Canada
2011  Russia (4)  Canada (8)  United States (4) Buffalo and Lewiston[10]  United States
2012  Sweden (2)  Russia (7)  Canada (5) Calgary and Edmonton  Canada
2013  United States (3)  Sweden (9)  Russia (6) Ufa  Russia
2014  Finland (3)  Sweden (10)  Russia (7) Malmö  Sweden
2015  Canada (16)  Russia (8)  Slovakia (2) Toronto and Montreal  Canada
2016  Finland (4)  Russia (9)  United States (5) Helsinki  Finland
2017  United States (4)  Canada (9)  Russia (8) Montreal and Toronto[11]  Canada
2018  Canada (17)  Sweden (11)  United States (6) Buffalo and Orchard Park[12]  United States
2019  Finland (5)  United States (2)  Russia (9) Vancouver and Victoria  Canada
2020 Ostrava and T?inec  Czech Republic
2021 Edmonton and Red Deer  Canada
2022 Gothenburg  Sweden
2023 Novosibirsk  Russia

Medal table

The unofficial tournaments held prior to 1977 are not included in this table.

Countries in italics no longer compete at the World Championships.

Country 1st, gold medalist(s) Gold 2nd, silver medalist(s) Silver 3rd, bronze medalist(s) Bronze Medals
 Canada 17 9 5 31
 Russia
 Soviet Union
 CIS
Total 
4
8
1
13
9
3
0
12
9
2
0
11
22
13
1
36
 Finland 5 4 6 15
 United States 4 2 6 12
 Sweden 2 11 5 18
 Czech Republic
 Czechoslovakia
Total 
2
0
2
0
5
5
1
6
7
3
11
14
 Slovakia 0 0 2 2
  Switzerland 0 0 1 1
Total 43 43 43 129

Future tournaments

These tournaments have been announced:

Hosting countries

Note
  • The 1982 tournament was co-hosted by two countries, the United States and Canada.
Host country Tournaments Future tournaments
 Canada 15 5
 Sweden 6 1
 Finland 6 1
 United States 6 2
 Czech Republic
 Czechoslovakia
Total 
2
3
5
2
0
2
 Russia
 Soviet Union
 CIS
Total 
2
2
0
4
2
0
0
2
 Germany
 West Germany
Total 
1
1
2
0
0
0
  Switzerland 1 0

Participating countries

Canada, Finland and Sweden have participated in all 43 IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Championships as well as the three unofficial World Junior Championships. USSR/CIS/Russia (when the Soviet Union broke up, Russia remained in Pool A, while all other Soviet republics started competing in Pool C in 1993) and Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic have also participated in all official and unofficial World Junior Championships, and the United States has participated in all except the unofficial tournament in 1976.

When Czechoslovakia peacefully split in 1993, the Czech Republic remained in Pool A but Slovakia (Slovak Republic) was placed in Pool C (now Division II). Slovakia was promoted to the top division for the 1996 Championships and has remained there since.

Starting with the 1996 tournament, the competition was increased from an 8-team round-robin to the current 10-team format. Since then, Switzerland has become a regular participant.

Germany has been a frequent participant in the top pool, having played there roughly half the time in the past decade. Latvia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan have also each made a number of top division appearances since the early 1990s. Less frequent top pool appearances have been made by Austria, Denmark, France, Japan, Norway, Poland and Ukraine.

At the most recent championship, held in Canada in 2019, participating teams included Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the United States.

Player eligibility

A player is eligible to play in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships if:[16]

  • the player is of the male sex;
  • the player has his 20th birthday in the year of the tournament's ending (e.g. born in 1994 for 2014 tournament), and at latest, the fifth year after the tournament's ending (e.g. born in 1999 for 2014 tournament);
  • the player is a citizen in the country he represents;
  • the player is under the jurisdiction of a national association that is a member of the IIHF.

If a player who has never played in IIHF-organized competition wishes to switch national eligibility, he must have played in competitions for two consecutive years in the new country without playing in another country, as well as show his move to the new country's national association with an international transfer card. In case the player has previously played in IIHF-organized competition but wishes to switch national eligibility, he must have played in competitions for four consecutive years in the new country without playing in another country, he must show his move to the new country's national association with an international transfer card, as well as be a citizen of the new country. A player may only switch national eligibility once.[17]

Tournament awards

At the conclusion of each tournament, the Directorate of the IIHF presents awards to the Top Goalie, Forward and Defenceman of the tournament. The media attending the event select an All-Star team separately from this.

Broadcast coverage

The following television networks and websites broadcast World Junior Championship games on television or online.

Country Broadcaster(s)
Canada TSN
RDS
Czech Republic ?T
Europe Eurosport
Finland Yle
Russia Match TV
Slovakia RTVS
Sweden SVT
TV4/TV12
C More
Switzerland UPC Switzerland (MySports)
United States NHL Network

TSN is the IIHF's main broadcast partner for this tournament. TSN.ca carries all Canada, select preliminary round, and all medal round games live, as well as most games on demand after their completion.[18]

Starting with the 2013 tournament, a paywall and geo-block was implemented on TSN's online coverage.[19] The same system applies to Canadian cable subscribers and subscribers of TSN's streaming service - users cannot stream the tournament outside of Canada on TSN Direct.[20]

Norway is currently a 'blackout' zone. Neither Eurosport or Viasat carry the tournament.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "All Medallists - U20". History. International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2009.
  2. ^ "TSN turned World Junior molehill into mountain". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ a b Dowbiggin, Bruce. "Credit TSN for elevating world juniors to must-see TV". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ "Ottawa to host 2009 world junior tourney". tsn.ca. The Canadian Press. 3 May 2006. Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ "Toronto, Regina-Saskatoon formally bid to stage World Juniors". tsn.ca. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Buffalo to host 2011 world hockey juniors". CBC Sports. Associated Press. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  7. ^ "Punch-up in Piestany". CBC Digital Archives. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 4 January 1987. Retrieved 2009.
  8. ^ "Story 59" International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  9. ^ "Brotherly but divided". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "2011 IIHF World U20 Championship". International Ice Hockey Federation. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Toronto and Montreal to host 2015 and 2017 world juniors". TSN. 19 June 2013.
  12. ^ Seravalli, Frank (3 December 2015). "Sources: Outdoor game planned for 2018 World Juniors in Buffalo". TSN.
  13. ^ a b c "2021 World Juniors in Alberta". International Ice Hockey Federation. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ https://www.iihf.com/en/news/9501/world-juniors-in-gothenburg
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i "IIHF has picked hosts for the next 14 WJC's". TSN. 13 February 2018.
  16. ^ "IIHF statutes and bylaws" (PDF). IIHF. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ "IIHF Eligibility". IIHF. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "IIHF World Under 20 Championship 2011 Television Coverage". iihf.com. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  19. ^ "FAQ: How to watch the World Juniors PPV online". TSN. 20 December 2012. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012.
  20. ^ Staff, TSN ca (7 June 2018). "Streaming FAQ - TSN.ca". TSN. Retrieved 2018.
General references

Further reading

External links

Media related to IIHF World U20 Championship at Wikimedia Commons


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