Canada favored to repeat at 2024 IIHF World Hockey Championship

  • Dates: Dec 26, 2023-Jan 5. 2024
  • Locations: Gothenburg, Sweden
  • How to Watch: NHL Network

Commencing on Boxing Day 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden, the 2024 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship unfolds in all its grandeur until the culminating gold medal game on January 5th.

Boasting a larger scale and heightened excitement, this edition brings together 32 international teams, promising a captivating sporting spectacle on the ice.

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Canada secured victory in the 2023 WJC, clinching the championship with a 3-2 overtime win against Czechia at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on January 5.

This triumph marked Canada’s second consecutive championship, with the last team achieving three consecutive wins being Canada, which secured five straight victories from 2005-09.

Canada is set to commence its preliminary-round journey against Finland on December 26.

A total of ten teams will participate in the WJC. During the preliminary round, the United States will compete in Group B at Frolundaborg in Gothenburg alongside Czechia, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Norway. Meanwhile, Group A will feature Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Latvia at Scandinavium in Gothenburg.

Notably, Russia remains ineligible for international play due to its involvement in the Ukraine invasion.

The quarterfinals, scheduled for January 2, will see the top four teams from each group advance.

After the quarterfinals, the semifinals and relegation game are set for January 4, with the championship and third-place games taking place at Scandinavium on January 5.

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Canada is shaping up to be a formidable force in the upcoming 2024 World Junior Hockey Championships, showcasing a roster teeming with talent. Although the final lineup is still taking shape, there are high expectations for a robust team performance.

Guiding Team Canada from the sidelines is Alan Letang, hailing from the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. Letang, who led the Sting to their first-ever conference finals last season, aspires to secure Team Canada’s first three-peat since the remarkable five consecutive gold medals from 2005 to 2009.

While hopes were high for a more significant NHL presence in the team, only Tristan Luneau from the Anaheim Ducks earned a spot.

Notable players like Connor Bedard and Kevin Korchinski from the Chicago Blackhawks, along with Shane Wright from the Seattle Kraken, opted to remain with their respective NHL teams.

This dynamic adds an intriguing mix of emerging talent and missed opportunities to the tournament.

As for Team Canada’s World Juniors odds, they enter as the top betting favorites with current odds at +165, having clinched back-to-back titles at home in 2022 and 2023.

The United States poses the most significant challenge to Canada, having thwarted them in each of their last four gold medal game encounters.

Interestingly, the last time Canada triumphed over the United States in a gold medal game at the World Juniors was in 1997.

Despite the competitive landscape, Canada enjoys a favorable draw as the #1 seeded team in Pool A.

Depending on the seeding in the knockout stage, they could potentially avoid facing the United States altogether in the tournament.

While Canada at +165 might not be the most lucrative choice on the odds board for the 2024 World Juniors, it stands as a highly probable one.

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The preliminary roster for Team USA’s World Junior Hockey Championship squad comprises 29 players who will vie for a spot on the final team during a three-day training camp from December 14 to 16 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.

Following the camp, a 25-man roster will be announced to represent USA Hockey at the championship, which will take place from December 26 to January 5, 2024.

This roster boasts eight returning members from last year’s bronze medal-winning squad. Among the 29 players are 16 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goalies selected for the training camp. Ultimately, four players will be cut, with the likelihood of two forwards and two defensemen being sent home.

Heading the coaching staff for 2024 is head coach David Carle from the University of Denver.

The coaching team also includes assistant coaches Steve Miller from the University of Minnesota, Brett Larson from St. Cloud State University, and Garrett Raboin from Augustana University, with David Lassonde serving as the goaltending coach.

Team USA’s pre-tournament preparations include games against Sweden on December 21 and Canada on December 23.

In the tournament’s preliminary round, Team USA, part of Group B, will face off against Norway, Switzerland, Czechia, and Slovakia.

Notable omissions from the preliminary roster include Cole Eiserman (U.S. NTDP/2024 NHL draft), Quentin Musty (Sudbury Wolves/San Jose Sharks), and Hunter Brzustewicz (Kitchener Rangers/Vancouver Canucks).

Zeev Buium is the sole 2024 NHL draft-eligible player on the roster, while James Hagens is eligible in 2025.

Rutger McGroaty, recently injured while playing for the University of Michigan, aims to recover in time for the 2024 World Junior Championship.

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Sweden is set to host the 2024 World Juniors in Gothenburg, and their roster is geared up to pursue the country’s third-ever gold medal, the first since 2012.

With a legitimate chance at success, Sweden aims to overcome historical challenges in clinching the top prize at the tournament.

Despite a record of 11 silver and seven bronze medals, Sweden has encountered difficulties securing gold. The team finished fourth last year after a thrilling overtime loss to Team USA in the bronze-medal game.

Nine players return from the 2023 fourth-place team, many of whom contributed to a gold-medal victory at the Under-18 Men’s World Championship in 2022.

Leading the team is Magnus Hävelid, who coached the U18 team to gold and had his debut stint behind the World Junior bench last year.

While the absence of top player Leo Carlsson, excelling with the Anaheim Ducks in his rookie NHL season, is notable, the roster boasts eight first-round NHL Draft picks. With the support of the home crowd, this talented Swedish team presents a formidable force.

Despite historical challenges, Sweden’s rich pool of talent and the home advantage make them a serious contender for the gold medal at the upcoming World Juniors.

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Tony Reyes

Tony is a pro sports journalist who dedicates most of his free time to watching the latest matches and games on TV. When he's not participating in sports-related activities or seeing his friends, Tony enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and basketball. In addition to being a sports expert, Tony has extensive knowledge of finances and accounting. He leverages this expertise to provide insightful betting analysis for all sports, identifying value based on overlooked factors.