If you’re obsessed with hockey trivia, the World Juniors are a gold mine. In many ways, this is the most unpredictable of all the IIHF’s top-level tournaments. To illustrate, no nation has won back-to-back titles since Canada’s five-peat in 2009. And you never know what kind of IIHF or professional careers await these under-20 stars in the decades to come.
So let’s try a little trivia. Here are seven weird but true World Junior facts.
1) When Czechoslovakia defeated Austria 21-4 at the 1981 World Youth Championship in West Germany, it was the most goals scored by a team in a single game. But that was not all. The Czechoslovaks, led by future IIHF Hall of Famer Jozef Golonka, actually scored more goals in that game than the sixth-placed United States in the entire tournament (19). It is a scenario that would be inconceivable today. Czechoslovakia, which added 34 goals, settled for fourth place.
2) Canada is the most successful nation in junior world history with 18 gold medals, but surprisingly few of its bench managers have used tournament training as a springboard to Stanley Cup triumphs. Only Mike Keenan (1980 WJC 5th place, 1994 SC with New York Rangers), Mike Babcock (1997 WJC gold, 2008 SC with Detroit) and Claude Julien (2000 WJC bronze, 2011 SC with Boston) have accomplished that feat as a boss. trainers
3) There is a little-known rule in Finnish hockey: if the Finns win the Junior World Cup in extra time in Helsinki, a member of the Kapanen family must play an important role. In 1998, when Niklas Hagman made it 2-1 in sudden death against Russia, Hannu Kapanen, now a member of the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame (2005), was the team’s head coach. In 2016, it was Kasperi Kapanen, the forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins and grandson of Hannu Kapanen, whose wraparound goal in overtime gave Finland a 4-3 victory over the Russians.
4) Here’s a fun connection from Alberta. Did you know that the three points recorded in the first goal scored in an IIHF World Junior Gold Medal game went to future Calgary Flames forwards? The IIHF first adopted the playoff format in 1996 when Boston hosted the World Juniors. In Canada’s 4-1 win over Sweden in the final, Daymond Langkow scored his first of two goals on a breakaway in just 1:33. The assists went to Hnat Domenichelli and Jarome Iginla. Langkow scored 288 points in 392 games as the Flame, while Domenichelli had 52 points in 96 games. And “Iggy,” a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and two-time Olympic gold medalist, became Calgary’s all-time leading scorer with 1,095 points in 1,216 games.
5) Only five players have led both the World Junior Championships and the NHL in points, and all of them are Canadian or Swedish. Canada leads the way with Wayne Gretzky (1978 WJC), Jarome Iginla (1996 WJC) and Connor McDavid (2015 WJC). For Sweden, they are Peter Forsberg (1993 WJC) and Henrik Sedin (2000 WJC). However, if we apply the first Art Ross Trophy tiebreaker (“Most Goals Player”) to the Junior World Cup, then McDavid disappears from the list, as his Canadian teammate Sam Reinhart matched McDavid’s 11 points in 2015. but he scored five goals against McDavid’s three. .
6) The 2005 Canadian World Junior team is widely recognized as the best of all time. It was packed with budding legends like Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Shea Weber. However, the player who picked up the eventual winner in the 6-1 gold medal fight over Russia in Grand Forks, North Dakota, was not a future superstar. Defenseman Danny Syvret, a third-round draft pick (81st overall) by Edmonton in 2005, scored a power play goal in the eighth minute to make it 2-0. Syvret played 59 NHL games, retiring in 2017 after one final season with DEL’s Nurnberg Ice Tigers.
7) Only one family in hockey history has produced both a junior world leading scorer and an under-18 women’s world leading scorer. In 2006, Phil Kessel (1+10=11) led the way with the US team in fourth place in Vancouver. In 2009, his sister Amanda Kessel (6+13=19) topped the points derby as the US captured its second consecutive gold medal in Germany. We are still waiting for the creation of a U-20 women’s tournament.