2017 World Juniors Report (Day 1)

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The best players under 20 are back in Toronto for another year as the IIHF continues to favour Canadian cities over everyone else.

It makes complete sense though as the Juniors are a tournament that is somewhat unique with some regions taking it very seriously and others almost ignoring it.

International hockey has a strange following sometimes as there are pockets where it is the ultimate in tests and others where things are not really big enough to make news.

But not every tournament finds the same level of love in the same areas.

The World Championships are considered massive throughout the world but when it comes to North America they are an afterthought.

Most the tournaments meant for youth players go almost entirely unnoticed aside from those entrenched in the hockey world.

The women’s world championships are completely ignored in the majority of the world but for Canada and the USA, it is a major tournament.

For the World Juniors, the same can be said, as the rest of the world tends to ignore the tournament while in Canada it is one of the biggest tournaments every year.

In the USA it is not nearly as big but the main hockey markets still pay attention to the results.

That gives the IIHF a tough decision when they go about looking for hosts every year because they are caught between showing too much favour to one section of the world and putting the tournament where people care.

When it comes to the Juniors there is really only one place where people come to watch and that is in Canada, and the Northern USA.

When the tournament travels to Europe the popularity is nowhere near and often it means half empty stadiums.

When the tournament heads to Canadians cities it becomes a major event in that city with everyone watching to see if the Canadians can make their way to the gold.

The same happens in Northern USA as Canadians travel across the border to see their home team play.hockey-sidebar

That to some might not be the best thing as the IIHF is constantly trying to grow the game throughout the world.

There is no better way to do that than to show off the most talented young players in the game across the world.

There has to be somewhat of a market in the places that love the sport because hockey is hockey and the Juniors display some amazing talent.

If the IIHF wants to grow the sport in more places than bringing the Juniors to more places should be the goal.

Exposing more people to the future of the game is sure to grow the game as more players become household names.

It can help to make hockey bigger everywhere and for the IIHF the ultimate goal is to get more people playing hockey in more places.

That can happen if more people see the possibilities and are exposed to the game.

Making the Juniors travel the world could be a big boost to the amount of people playing the game and could help the growth of the game around the world.

They have had issues with that though and it seems like they reach a pattern where they attempt to bring the tournament to different places but give up.

It is reaching that period now as the IIHF will hold the Juniors in Canada two of the next three years.

It will also host the Juniors in Buffalo, not too far from Canada where there will be plenty of Canadians will come to see.

That is the plan of the IIHF as they do want to grow the game but they also want to bring the games to the people that want them.

So, for now, the Juniors return to Canada where the Canadian fans get to see the best of the best and the future of the games.

The Canadians have plenty of pressure with their own fans hoping to see another gold medal at home.

They are plenty used to it though and they will try to get back to the gold as the Juniors are underway with and entire country watching.

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Day 1:
Sweden 6-1 Denmark
– The Swedes started off their tournament looking like the hyped up team that most people thought they were going to be as they easily took out Denmark with Rasmus Dahlin impressing everyone

USA 6 -1 Latvia
– The Americans certainly didn’t come out firing on all cylinders as they had a tough time against the Latvians for two periods but that subsided as they got more comfortable and took an easy win

Czech Republic 2-1 Finland
– The defending champions did not start out their tournament the way they were hoping as the Czechs were able to grab a win against the Finns with a late winning goal that put a damper on the chance to defend gold

Canada 5-3 Russia
– Once again the Russians and Canadians got together to put on a show as they fought back and forth until the third period where the Canadians began to take over even if they couldn’t fully pull away

Day 2:
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (Tuesday, December 27th; 1:00 pm ET)
– After stunning the defending champions in their first action of the tournament the Czechs take on the Swiss hoping to stay focus and not look past a team expected to fight just to stay in the top tier as the Swiss get their tournament started

Latvia vs. Russia (Tuesday, December 27th; 4:00 pm ET)
– The Latvians certainly showed some fight against the Americans but couldn’t finish and they won’t get any rest as they take on the Russians who will certainly be motivated after losing their opening game to the Canadians

Denmark vs. Finland (Tuesday, December 27th; 5:30 pm ET)
– The Finns are not a happy group right now as they took a big loss in their first game of the tournament and they will try to turn things around against the Danes who will hope to be the second to launch a major upset

Canada vs. Slovakia (Tuesday, December 27th; 8:00 pm ET)
– Canadians are very happy with their start as one rival has been taken out in their first game now they move on to the middle of their schedule where they will need to stay focused in order to beat an always tough Slovakian team

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