For the first time since 2005, the IIHF World Junior Championship, a holiday hockey tradition, will get underway on Christmas Day. Three games highlight the opening-day schedule before Canada’s National Junior Team begins defence of its gold medal against Germany on Boxing Day.
Hockey Canada and the host committee, on behalf of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), unveiled the full tournament schedule Monday. All 28 games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alta., from Dec. 25, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021.
As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it was announced last month, through careful consideration with provincial and federal health authorities, that the World Juniors would be played without fans.
“A tremendous amount of planning has been underway for almost two years and announcing the schedule signifies how close we are to puck drop,” said, Riley Wiwchar, executive director of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. “After announcing the return of the tournament last month, there is a feeling, even knowing there won’t be fans in the building, of excitement and anticipation across the province and extending across the country as fans get set to cheer on the future stars of the game.”
The 10-team tournament features Canada in Group A with Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. Group B is comprised of Austria, the Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
In addition to Canada’s Boxing Day match-up with Germany, it will also play Slovakia on Dec. 27 and Switzerland on Dec. 29 before closing out the preliminary round with a New Year’s Eve showdown with Finland.
TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will carry extensive game coverage and analysis throughout the World Juniors, including all 28 tournament games and all 10 pre-tournament games that begin Dec. 20. TSN Radio will also provide comprehensive tournament coverage, with details to be announced at a later date.
Overall, Canada has captured 18 gold medals (1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2020), 11 silver (1975, 1976, 1977, 1986, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2017) and six bronze (1974, 1978, 1983, 2000, 2001, 2012).