It’s World Juniors season!
Although I find myself wondering if this tournament should even be happening (eight players from the German team and two staff members from the Swedish team have tested positive for Covid since arriving in Edmonton), it seems like the IIHF believes in their protocols and is moving ahead with everything. Pre-tournament games were scheduled to start on December 20 but due to the extended quarantine for Germany & Sweden, they are now taking place without those two teams from the 22nd-23rd before the tournament gets underway on the 25th.
So what should BC fans be looking out for if all goes well?
Spencer Knight, Matt Boldy, and Drew Helleson are all on Team USA’s roster. Knight will most likely be the starting goalie for USA, hoping to backstop them to the gold medal after falling to Finland in the quarterfinals last year. Boldy, after having a rough first half of last season, was left off the roster in 2020 — but will likely be playing a huge offensive role for the USA this year as he was on a line with Wisconsin sophomore Cole Caufield & Michigan freshman Matt Beniers throughout training camp. Helleson, who also was not on the roster in 2020, will likely be looked to for a huge impact on the blue line this year — finding himself paired with UND’s Jake Sanderson throughout training camp. USA will have one pre-tournament game against Finland on Tuesday, Dec. 22 before starting tournament play on Friday, Dec. 25 against Russia.
Alex Newhook is the lone Eagle on Team Canada, making the final roster this year after being surprisingly cut last year. Throughout Hockey Canada’s training camp, he found himself on a line with Wisconsin sophomore Dylan Holloway and QMJHL forward Jakob Pelletier — which seemed to be one of Canada’s best lines during their inter-team scrimmages. While this team has incredible offensive capabilities, it looks like Canada’s coach Andre Tourigny will be turning to them as a shutdown line. I guess that just speaks to how much offense is on that team! Canada will be taking on Russia in its lone pre-tournament game on Wednesday, Dec. 23, and will start tournament play against Germany on Saturday, Dec. 26.