Christmas time means hockey time in Canada! 2016 is no exception when we once again look forward to watching the best juniors in the world take part in the Ice Hockey World Juniors 2016/17. Last year, Finland won the tournament after defeating Russia in the final. In this post we present the group and play offs schedule for this year’s tournament. The 2016/17 World Juniors starts December 26, 2016 and the final is played January 5, 2017.
Groups, World Juniors 2016-17
Ten teams are divided into two groups from which the four best teams advances to the quarterfinals.
Comment: It is important to wn this group in order to avoid facing Canada, USA or Russia early in the playoffs. Although group A consists of overall strong teams, our bet is that the battle for the group win will stand between the Nordic rivals Sweden and Finland.
Comment: Canada is always strong, especially at home on a smaller ice than in the European version of the tournament. However, there are no easy games in group B where every team has a chance to reach the playoffs. The teams want to place at least 1 or 2 in order to avoid facing Finland and Sweden in the quarterfinal.
Playoffs in the World Juniors 2016/17
January 2: Quarterfinals
January 4: Semifinals
January 5: Final (and bronze game)
What team will win the World Juniors 2016/17?
As stated above, Canada has the advantage of the home crowd which makes a strong team even better. However, the margins in the World Juniors are always small and we know that USA, Russia, Sweden and Finland always are strong competitors for the gold. It will be interesting to see if Finland can build on the success last year where they won both the World Juniors and the U18 tournaments. Sweden has a new coach that yet has to be tested so it is hard to predict where the Three Crowns stands before the tournament has begun.