2012 WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP IS UNDERWAYNews | 12/26/2011 1:45:59 PM |
A hockey holiday tradition – the IIHF World Junior Championship – kicked off Dec. 26 in Alberta, Canada. Ten teams are vying for the gold medal in Calgary and Edmonton over the next two weeks, with Russia looking to defend the goal medal it won last January when the tournament was hosted in Buffalo, NY.
Team USA, which won gold in 2010 and earned the bronze medal last year in Buffalo, enters this year’s tournament after having medaled in back-to-back World Junior Championships for the first time in its history. Last year’s bronze medal also marked the first time the country won a medal on home soil. The Americans kicked off their 2012 schedule on Dec. 26 with an 11-3 victory over Denmark.
All of Team USA’s games in the 2012 World Junior Championship can be seen on NHL Network.
Canada, a team that last year featured Marcus Foligno and Zack Kassian during its run to the silver medal, will join Team USA in Group B. The border rivals will face off in a New Year’s Eve showdown at Edmonton’s Rexall Place at 8 p.m. EST on NHL Network. Defenseman Mark Pysyk, who was Buffalo’s first round draft choice (23rd overall) in 2010, will anchor Team Canada’s blue line. Each of Canada’s games will also be televised on NHL Network. Team Canada opened the tournament with an 8-1 win over Finland.
The Finnish team also features a top Sabres prospect, as Joel Armia, who was selected by Buffalo in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, suits up for Finland for the second straight year.
Mark Pysyk (Canada, D, Selected 23rd overall by BUF in 2010)
Joel Armia (Finland, F, Selected 16th overall by BUF in 2011)