The most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching, no I’m not talking about Christmas, which it is but this is something hockey fans really enjoy. No what I’m talking about is the World Junior Championship being held in Edmonton and Calgary from December 26th to January 5th 2012. This where we get to see the future stars of the NHL play at their highest performance against the best around the world.
What is there not to enjoy as these young men go head to head showing off their talents and fighting for the right to state ‘We are the Best in the World’ and at the end of the tournament to be able to stand tall and ‘belt out’ their national athem and pose for the traditional team picture sprawled around the cup at centre ice.
What is there not to enjoy as we the fans get to sit back and watch the fast pace game we all love. This is a Tradition for us Canadians as much as giving a dozen roses to your wife on Valentines Day (well you should do it!) or as common as apple pie to our friends in the south. Hockey at this time of year is a tradition and this tournament will be the most watched show through Christmas and New Years.
The players that have been choosen to represent our country are highly skilled and motivated to win. They come from 3 different Junior leagues in Canada plus one player who plays in the NCAA with Colorado College, that being Jaden Schwartz who is also a returning player for Team Canada. We have 9 players who represent the OHL, 5 players from the WHL, 4 from the QMJHL and 2 returning players from the NHL.*
It is a line up that has no defencemen returning from the 2011 team and only 3 forwards plus 1 goalie who did play last year for the silver winning team in 2011.
Will this be enough experience going into this tournament or has Team Canada gone to ‘New’ with inexperience players for this International event? Time will tell for sure as these young men prepare themselves to be on the world spot light and skate their way to Victory for their country.
As one player had said when he had learned of his spot on the team ’ I am living my dream right now, lets get it going!’
* Note: Check out Team Canada’s roster on Hockey Canada web site www.HockeyCanada.ca
Warren Nye, UltimateHockeySource.com
Photo by TheScore
December 17th, 2011