WJC – The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Dobber Sports

2011-12-17

 

Visentin

 

Brendan Ross shows his artistic side with a WJC-themed rendition of a famous Christmas song. He also goes into a ridiculous amount of detail previewing the players (with a focus on those who are 2012 draft eligible) and teams to watch at the tournament this year.

 

It's the most wonderful time of the year

There'll be parties for hosting

Beer mugs for toasting

Hockey fans filing through snow

There'll be gold medal collapse stories,

And tales of the glories of

World Junior Championships long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year

There'll be much patriotic gloating

And hearts will be glowing

When Canada scores 'n we cheer

It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's the most wonderful time of the year

 

Alright, alright, The Dean's List's attempt at a musical rendition of the famous Christmas carol might be weak at best but the title resonates accurately for hockey fans across the world. The World Junior Championship represents a time for nations (especially Canada) to converge and display their national pride through teenagers donning their country's colours.  Canadians are people who hold great pride in their hockey success and it is likely why Canada places much more emphasis on the outcome of the IIHF World Junior Championship than its competitors.  However, this patriotic obsession with hockey success also rewards those countries who are able to beat Canada in these international competitions and there is plenty of national pride to be gained for those countries when that happens.

 

The annual IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship (WJHC) has been traditionally known as a tournament for 19-year-olds to shine and compete against the best teenage players in the world.  The emergence of younger hockey stars is becoming more ordinary in hockey leagues around the world.  Hockey is becoming a young man's game more every year. The National Hockey League has its Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jeff Skinners, Tyler Seguins and Adam Larssons currently starring for their respective NHL teams (all of whom are still eligible to compete in this years' 2012 IIHF WJHC).  Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov (also playing for Russia this year) is tied for first in team scoring as a 19-year-old in the KHL.  YouTube sensation Mikael Granlund (Minnesota Wild) sits one point behind the SM-liiga scoring leader with 38 points in 30 games and can still be called a "teenager".  Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers) is fourth in NCAA scoring playing for the University of Minnesota.  All of these prospects are succeeding in leagues traditionally dominated by older more experienced players.  Kuznetsov, Granlund and Bjugstad have all represented their countries in the WJHC's and will be returning to become vital components of their team's success this season.  In this edition of The Dean's List, players entering their first IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship will be highlighted as they look to gain experience and draft credibility en route to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

 

Again, the U-20 WJHC is a time where coaches give valuable ice time to the veteran returnees but the following draft eligible players could find themselves forcing the hands of their coaches with their elite skill sets on display in less than ten days.  Last season, Adam Larsson was the high scoring skater in the World Junior that was draft eligible.  Larsson scored one goal and four points playing for Team Sweden in six games tying him for 32nd overall in 2011 WJHC scoring.  Therefore, the task of becoming a standout as a draft eligible player is definitely difficult but these players could just become the exception.

 

CANADA


With Mathew Dumba (Red Deer Rebels) getting cut earlier this week from the Team Canada roster, Ryan Murray (Everett Silvertips) is the top rated draft eligible player suiting up for the red and white this year.  Murray, a smooth skating two-way defenseman, has plenty of international hockey experience as he notched 10 points in last year's Under-18 tournament.