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Who wins the World Junior Hockey Championships (WJHC) 2021?

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WJHC to Start of Christmas Day 2020

There will a lot of excitement coming in the Great White North as the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced all games for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in Edmonton, Alberta during December and January 2021. Although this exciting tournament will be without fans in attendance, the expectation is that there will be some great game as teams like Canada, the US, Sweden and many others have an abundance of young talent.

Different Format and the NHL Bubble Strategy

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in the different format compared to the ones in previous years. Besides the fact that there will no fans, the IIHF made the ultimate, but necessary decision to cancel all lower-division U20 championships. That means that there will be relegation this year. This decision can have a galvanizing effect on the prospect of sportsmanship, competitiveness and the quality of hockey. It will be no surprise if we see a quite a few coast to coast goals, some classic cheese goals and Kronwall tackles on the blue line.

As for the organization prospects, it is important to emphasize that the IIHF World Junior Championship has adopted the NHL strategy of the so-called “bubble” which is based on the concept of games behind closed doors with no outside spectators. Simply said, the IIHF World Junior Championship will look similarly as the NHL Stanley Cup Final from 2020. That approach will also include certain quarantine arrangements and games will be played at a single venue which is the Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB.

The tournament starts on December 25th with the opening game between the European rivals, Switzerland and Slovakia. They will also face the hosts Canada, Germany and Finland in the Pool A. Furthermore, this will be the first time since the 2004-05 season that the opening game is scheduled for Christmas day. There will be a total of 28 tournament games, culminating with four quarterfinal games on Saturday, Jan. 2, both semi-finals on Sunday, Jan. 3, and the Gold Medal Game on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

All in all, the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will bring some great games for the Hockey fans in Canada and around the world. And with some of the newly adopted tournament modifications, fans will most likely see an open and entertaining style of play, keeping the goaltender busy trying to keep the puck our their net.