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2021 IIHF World Junior Championship to begin Christmas Day in Edmonton

Chris Mast

CALGARY, Alta. – 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.

A number of WHL players are eligible and in contention to make the Canadian roster for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, including 17 players who attended Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp back in July. Among those 17 players are goaltenders Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton Oil Kings), Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers, and Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars), defencemen Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants), Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors), Kaiden Guhle (Prince Albert Raiders), Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets), Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings), and Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings), along with forwards Adam Beckman (Spokane Chiefs), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Jack Finley (Spokane Chiefs), Gage Goncalves (Everett Silvertips), Ridly Greig (Brandon Wheat Kings), Seth Jarvis (Portland Winterhawks), Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg ICE), and Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers).

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.

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).

For more information from the IIHF, please visit the official tournament website at 2021.worldjuniors.hockey.

For more information on Hockey Canada, Canada’s National Junior Team and the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on Facebook, Twitter and #WorldJuniors.

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