In last year’s IIHF World Juniors we got to see Team Canada win the gold after defeating Russia in the final. Slovakia won bronze after defeating Sweden. The 2015-16 edition of the tournament is held in Finland December 6 2015-January 5 2016.
Ten teams are divided into two groups:
Comment: A tough group with many tricky teams. It is hard to predict how the North American teams will perform on the big ice. Sweden is always a top rated team. Danish hockey have taken big steps upwards last couple of years. Switzerland is always a tricky opponent. As Swedes, we are of course looking forward to the game against Canada on New Year’s Eve!
Comment: Finland versus Russia is always a blast, as well as Czech Republic versus Slovakia. In fact, every team in this group have some sort of rivalry with Russia. The Russians might start tournaments a bit sloppy, but against these opponents that is not a great tactic. In fact, all teams of group B have the chance to reach the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals are played January 2.
The semifinals are played January 4.
The final and bronze game are played January 5.
What team will win the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship?
Many factors make the World Juniors hard to predict. What talents are actual in the teams this year? How will the geographic location of the tournament affect the teams. Finland has the home advantage but that can also be too much for the Finnish nerves. Sweden is always a candidate for a medal. Russia almost made a sensational comeback against Canada in the final last year. The North American teams have performed better on big ice last years, not the least Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship 2015.
We put our money on Russia this year. They won the gold in 2011 after a remarkable final game against Canada and if they can keep their temper they will go far this year as well.
2016 is the last year for a while that the IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in Europe. 2017 and 2019 the tournament is held in Canada and 2018 in USA. In 2020 it is back in Europe again (Czech Republic), and then it goes back to Canada in 2021.
Canada is leading the gold race with 16 gold medals, followed by Russia/Soviet Union with 13 golds. Finland and USA have 3 golds each and Sweden and Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia 2.