Friday, December 23, 2011

World Juniors Time Again

While I could go ahead and do a preview, team-by-team, of the 2012 World Junior Championship in Alberta-- I'm not that kind of guy. Plus, the fact you can get them anywhere in a number of places-- not too much my style. This is a tournament could be second to the Olympics when it comes to national pride. Especially for Canada. 

This is a tournament that is always hyped up around the hockey world and really gets a solid focus, unless the World Championships, which gets lost in the NHL Playoffs; thus making it hard for people in North America to have that same pride because their club team could still be in it and the access to the games aren't always there. 

For the players, this is a big chance for them, considering some of them are draft eligible and want to show off their wears to the NHL world in hopes of getting drafted. For some of them, it could be the only time they get to represent their country on such a stage; making them want to give their all for such an event. 

The kids themselves will have to deal with a lot of pressure. The Canadians will be on home ice, and with the team not having won a Gold in two tournaments, losing both of the last two championship games-- Don Hay and his squad will have to worry about not only playing well, but making sure the local media doesn't get to be too much for them. The defending champions in Russia will be playing with heavy hearts due to the Lokomotiv tragedy this summer, losing two of their top players-- but this year, they have a top squad and are primed to repeat. The USA is a team that last won the Gold in Canada and should have a solid squad, despite many of the cut players not enjoying their time or thinking it's fair. You can never forget the Scandinavian contingent of Sweden and Finland would could really throw a wreck in the spokes of a top contender. Plus, you can always have a "Cinderella" of the Czech, Slovaks, Swiss, Latvians, or Danes-- but don't count much on it. 

The fact of the matter is that the holiday tradition is one that always get plenty of attention, whether it's to see the future of the NHL coming up, country pride, or just to have some frantic moments that will give some a break for their NHL teams that may not be doing so well-- it's an event that always seems to bring out the Olympic-like support year after year. This year should be another exciting tournament, so I hope somehow you can find a way to watch. 

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