2014 World Junior Hockey Championship

2014wjclogoThe gold medal match-up, which goes today on TSN at noon, isn’t the one that Canadian hockey fans were hoping for. That was assured when Finland beat Canada yesterday in one semi-final 5-1. With the victory, the Finns advanced to play host Sweden for the World Junior title. Canada, meanwhile, will take on the Russians in the bronze medal game which will be broadcast at 8 a.m. The Russians were relegated to that game after they lost the other semi-final 2-1 to Sweden.

Heading into the tournament, hopes for the Canadian team weren’t high. To begin with, the tournament was in Europe where the team typically struggles with the large ice surface. Also, the team was the second-youngest Canada had ever sent to the tournament after the 1987 squad. Eleven players are eligible return for the 2015 tournament which will be co-hosted by Toronto and Montreal.

It’s been five years now since the juniors last captured the gold medal. Undoubtedly, they’ll be some soul searching at Hockey Canada concerning the drought — which comes on the heels of a stretch where the Canadian juniors captured five gold medals in a row.

I don’t know enough about hockey to get into the ins and outs of what Canada’s doing right when it comes to developing hockey players and what it’s doing wrong although I think it’s fair to say that the NHL-driven focus on physical, defensive hockey is sapping some of the energy and talent out of the junior game. Also, at both the junior and adult level, Canada has struggled lately in the area of goaltending. A month ago the Globe & Mail had a special feature on that very topic. If you missed it, and you’re interested in hockey, it’s worth a read.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

3 thoughts on “2014 World Junior Hockey Championship”

  1. Another disappointing year for Canada at the World Juniors. I don’t think people hold out much hope for our team at this tournament any longer, given their performance over the last few years. I think you’re right about the NHL’s focus on player size and strength and a physical, defensive game being contributing factors to our inability to dominate a game that’s changed so much over the years. Mental toughness and strategy are what’s winning the game for countries like Sweden, Finland and others. Your link to the goalie story was also an interesting one — thanks for that. I’ve sent it on to my nephew who recently gave up the game at the tender age of 18, after almost 12 years in the net. Fortunately, he’s immersed in several athletic and academic pursuits so isn’t going to sit around crying the blues. I saw his struggles firsthand, as coaches concentrated almost solely on the non-goaltenders on all of his teams, assuming the goalies would figure it out for themselves, both physically and mentally. If it’s too much for an adult, how can a kid possibly be expected to learn the skills and build the mental and emotional strength needed for such a demanding position?! The goalie camps he attended over the years were mostly a weak attempt at giving these kids what they needed, and were based mainly on the kids having pucks shot at them on the ice or in simulated situations. Canada needs to adapt to the modern game or they’ll fall further and further behind. Sounds like the Swedish system for goaltenders is where we need to be. Canada’s hockey fans and the Canadian kids who dream of playing in the big leagues will be the ultimate winners.

  2. The current top 10; GAA leaders in the NHL….1 Regina,2 USA,1 Ab, 2 Ont,,1 Finland,1Sweden ,2 Quebec.

    The WJT is good tourney for the young skaters, their parents & the scouts.

    I watch very little of junior hockey it’s still just little league.

    Out of the 150 player at the tourney… 25 are good enough to play in the show?

  3. Having read some of the comments made about our Team Canada Men’s Hockey team, I say our players were fine just the way they were. These guys are the best in the Country. That’s not the problem. The Failure lies in the preparation. Preparation is everything, and preparation is the coaches department.

    Relying on our kid’s creativity, skill and heart can only go so far. All teams have that now. Hockey is a passing game, Elite Hockey is a game of refined sending and receiving. There are two-touch to one-touch passing drills that implement the notion of “letting the puck do the work”. The puck travels way faster when players touch the puck less, you’d think that’d be obvious for hockey connoisseurs. Relying on our young talented egos to take charge of a coaches game can only nurture frustration against a team which better prepared in quicker puck displacement. The U.S. showed the world last year. Today, better means smarter, not faster, not tougher, not more heart, not more skilled …….. smarter.

    We’re old school now and we’re behind, and we’re gonna stay behind if we don’t get it. Master One-touch passing, and nobody will ever touch you, ever.

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