Friday, 12 December 2008

*Pre-empting any patriotic blood-shed...*

**Originally posted on W2TBL ... at the exact date and time this had been retroactively posted to.**

I'd like to pre-empt any ill-will that may arise over the next month or so concerning, specifically, any and all references to Canada's ridiculously good record at junior worlds (officially known as the IIHF World Junior Championship, or the World U20 Championship).

First of all, a reminder: I am Canadian. Forgive me my patriotism...

Secondly, Canada LOVES its junior hockey, probably more than any other country in the world. (Give me another country who runs a 50+ franchise junior league that's anywhere near as popular or profitable as the CHL and I'll desist...)

Thirdly, while a great many things in this story are COMPLETELY fabricated, Canada's junior worlds record is not, so any extravagant claims I make, like, say, the fact that we've medaled for 15 of the last 16 years, are true. (This story only contains one WJC-related inconsistency with reality, and if any of you out there can tell me what it is, I'll name a character after you! hint: you've already read about it.)

Canada is in fact defending the junior world title for the fourth consecutive year this Christmas, so please don't get all uppity with me for being all ra-ra-CA-NA-DA! because the fact that we kick ass at at junior worlds (we're currently on a 10-year medaling streak: 4 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze) is actually important to this story.

Ya'll may not watch the WJC religiously in the States (or Uppsala or Sheffield), but then again you may and I just don't know. The point, however, is that here in Canada, junior worlds is kind of like having a Canadian team in the Stanley Cup final. It's big. Real big. Sometimes, I think we care more about Junior Worlds than the World Championships in May.

Also, if you're not in the habit of watching the U20 Worlds, I encourage you to check it out this year! It's fast, it's fun, and holy cow, is it awesome to watch 16-19 year-olds duke it out for gold! When they win, it's almost as wicked as watching your home team win the Cup! For me, more so, but that's cause I'm a freak who loves junior hockey more than the NHL... (but please don't tell Dany Heatley that, even though technically the reason he's my favourite player is because I saw him play for the first time in the WJC and he was the first player since Mario Lemieux that made me go 'Oooh-you're-good!')

For Canadians (and anyone with a decent satellite provider), TSN is pretty much dedicated to the tournament from December 26th until January 5th. TSN broadcasts a lot of games on the web and has a lot of games on permanent VOD on their website, but I'm not sure if they're available overseas. If you can't get TSN, you can try to Sopcast it or check out and see if anyone there is streaming the games. They are SO worth the effort!

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