2017 World Juniors Preview

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The Juniors are back in Canada for another year as the North American tour starts up again with all three of the next tournaments in Canada and the USA.

This time around the hosts are once again the two biggest hockey markets in the world as Toronto and Montreal welcome the future of the game back to their cities.

The last time these two cities hosted the World Juniors Canadians returned to the top of the heap winning the gold medal.

That gold medal win was an important one for Canada as it marked the first time they had won the gold after a five-year drought.

That is extremely unusual for the Canadians in this tournament as they have been the best team in the world year after year.

There is no country that has won more U20 tournaments than the Canadians and they have a habit of dominating for long stretches.

They have two separate five-year runs at the top of the heap making them easily the most dominant country in the tournament.

Yet recently hockey has grown and it is no longer a secret as more people are playing in more countries.

For the first time ever this year, the NHL Canadians are minorities in the game, although that is only when measured against every other country in the world.

Canada is no longer the be all and end all of the game despite the fact that they are still one of the best hockey countries in the world.

The difference is that the rest of the hockey world is finally catching up and they are seeing real results.

It has been said for years but finally the results of all of those years of catching up are having an impact now.

The Juniors are a good measure of where hockey is going because it expresses the future of the game.

The players in this tournament are going to be the future of the NHL and the better they are the better the league gets.

That used to be just for the Russians and Canadians but now every team is getting better and there are more stars coming into the NHL from every country.

After five straight years of gold medals, the Canadians took a back seat for five other years before winning again.

Just when everyone thought the reign of the Canadians was going to start again they took a loss for another year.

It was Finland that was one top last time around and they have now been on top two of the last three years.hockey-sidebar

As good as the Canadians and Russians have been in all of those years there is little doubt that Finland is having a renaissance.

They are becoming the team to beat with more great young talent coming from the country every year.

If they can win another one they may very well usher in a new era in international hockey and take over this period of time for the Juniors.

As they rise though there is no doubt that the rest of the teams in the tournament are getting better and making it harder for everyone.

The Finns are a good group but they ae not alone in attempting to find a way to the gold medal.

Canada and Russia will always be a factor while the USA and Sweden have teams that can always be a test.

There will be no team under more pressure than the Canadians though as they are expected to win this tournament every year.

Add that to the fact that they are the home team with a home crowd cheering them on wanting to see a successful year from the future of the game in the country.

The Juniors were a tournament that was so simple to call as the only real question was which team will win the silver and the bronze for the tournament.

Canadians were always the favourites and although they remain the favourites now they are certainly not going to walk away with the gold.

There are plenty of others countries putting together great teams all with a chance to win the gold in Montreal this year.

As disappointing as it is for the Canadian fans to see their team fall short it is only great for hockey and this tournament as it is only getting better.

This year the Canadians will make a run looking to get back to the top while everyone else tries to spoil the party.

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