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World Juniors'

Hameenlinna Canadians?
Mind games are often as prominent as the match itself when Canada and Russia meet on the ice, and the 1998 World Junior Championship in Finland was no exception. After winning its group, Russia was to host a sudden-death quarter-final game with Canada in Hameenlinna. The Canadians, claiming they thought they were to wear their red jerseys, traveled from their base in Helsinki with only their reds. When they arrived and discovered the Russians were also preparing to wear their reds, the Canadians explained the situation and kindly asked Russian officials if they would mind switching to white jerseys. But the Russians, always wanting to wear their red, refused and the tournament committee confirmed their right of choice because they had finished the preliminary round with a better record than Canada. The game time could not be set back so, after both teams warmed up in their reds, Canada borrowed the home white jerseys of the local HPK team from Hameenlinna to start the game and called Helsinki to have their own whites sent by truck to the arena. The Canadian whites arrived in time for the second period. The game was a thriller, with the Russians winning 3-2 in overtime.

We've Got Your Number
Since the World Junior Championship became an IIHF sanctioned tournament in 1977, Czechoslovakia is the only country with a winning record against Canada. Surprisingly, although Canada has won 10 gold medals, Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are all looking for their first.

One Loss Too Many
In the storied history of the Olympics, World Championships and World Junior Championships, only one team has gone through an entire tournament with only one loss and failed to win a medal. This happened to Finland when it hosted the 1985 World Junior Championship. The Finns had four wins and two ties heading into their final match with the Soviet Union, which they lost 6-5. Canada and Czechoslovakia, with identical records of 5-0-2 won the gold and silver medals, respectively. The Soviets finished at 5-2-0 and won the bronze over Finland, which was 4-1-2. The deciding factor was the Soviets’ earlier win over the hosts.

Fair Cup Gold
After winning their first World Junior title in 1982, Canada was awarded this Fair Play trophy for having the least amount of penalty minutes as a team.

Training Ground
While it may have taken the Canadians a few years to acclimatize to the World Junior tournament, the Soviets needed no period of adjustment. They won eight gold in the WJC's first 13 tournaments, and the list of participants reads like a who's who of early Soviet arrivals to the NHL. Vyacheslav Fetisov played in 1977 and '78, Igor Larionov played in '79 and '80, and by the mid-80s even more players familiar to North American audiences were beginning their careers at the World Juniors. Valery Kamensky and Igor Kravchuk represented the Soviet Union in 1985. The next year they were joined by Vladimir Konstantinov, and the following year the team placed sixth despite having perhaps its strongest roster ever, at least on paper, including Konstantinov, Vladimir Malakhov, Valeri Zelepukin, Alexander Mogilny, and Sergei Fedorov. In 1989, Fedorov and Mogilny were joined by Pavel Bure, Dmitri Kristich, Sergei Zubov, Dmitri Yushkevich, and Alexander Godynyuk, all of whom went on to play in the NHL. Interestingly, the Soviets' previous greatest strength, goal, has been their least reliable since the retirement of Tretiak, none of their World Juniors having gone on to greater success in the World Championships or the NHL (with the exception of Nikolai Khabibulin who played for CIS and Russia in 1992 and 1993 at the WJC).

King Forsberg
Sweden's Peter Forsberg tallied a record 31-points at the 1993 World Juniors, leading his "Three Crowns" team to the silver medal.

Kazakhstan Upset
Following five consecutive gold medals from 1993-1997, the 1998 World Junior Championship was a disaster for Canada. The Canadians lost to host Finland on opening day, finished fourth in their group and lost 3-2 in overtime to Russia in the quarterfinals. A few heads turned when Canada then lost 3-0 to the United States in a playoff for fifth place. Kazakhstan, Canada’s opponent in a playoff for seventh place, was competing in the World Junior Championship A Pool for the first time. Earlier in the tournament the Kazakhs had been humiliated 12-1 by Russia and 7-0 by Switzerland. But the spirit of the Canadian players was at an all-time low and the outstanding goaltending that had been provided by Mathieu Garon suddenly went missing. The upstarts jumped into a 4-0 lead after two periods and went on to embarrass Canada 6-3, relegating the defending champions to an eighth-place finish, their worst in history.

Two Many Pucks
At the 1989 World Junior Championships, the Soviet Union won gold and Sweden silver, a result that may have been different had not a second puck appeared on the ice at a crucial time in the round-robin game between those teams! On December 29, 1988, Sweden played the Soviets in the third game for each team of the tournament. The Soviets were winning 3-2 late in the third period but the Swedes were pressing for the tying goal. At 18:32 the Soviet goalie Aleksei Ivashkin made a save and directed the puck into the corner. At the same time, a second puck appeared in front of the Soviet goal. A Swede quickly fired the puck into the net past an unsuspecting Ivashkin, who was watching the puck in the corner, and the Swedes began to celebrate. But referee Steve Piotrowski of the United States ruled no goal on the play after talking to his two linesmen, Rautavuori of Finland and Larssen of Norway. Daniel Rydmark of Sweden wound up with a 10-minute misconduct on the play, and team manager Kjell Damberg ran onto the ice to protest the call. The game ended 3-2 Soviet Union, and a few days later they ended up with a gold medal and the Swedes the silver.

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