If anyone was looking for a reason to get excited about this years World Junior Championships, you could easily find it in the opening day schedule. At 1:00 pm eastern the United States faces Canada in what is being talked about as a premier match up.
It’s rare for the U.S. and Canada, the defending gold medalist, to play on opening day; it will mark the fifth time their rivalry game will be played on the first day of the WJC, and the first time since a 6-1 Canada win against the U.S. since the 1996 tournament.
In addition to Canada, the U.S. will play Sweden on Dec. 28, Switzerland on Dec. 30, and Denmark on Dec. 31, during preliminary-round play in Group A.
A victory for the United States team in Ufa, Russia, in 2013 seems like all but a distant memory now. Since then, the record for the United States has been strong, but success has not been found in Championships. In 2014 and 2015, the US took a near identical paths through the preliminary round, only to suffer the same fate, a quarterfinal-round loss to Russia. Leaving the tournament without competing for a medal.
For those of us who spent the last few days not quite sure what to do, or what to watch without having any hockey, the wait is over. While the holidays are nice with family and friends, there are only so many left over ham sandwiches you can eat without having a game on TV.