With the Christmas season, there's another tradition, at least in my house, that we partake in on an annual basis. The 2011 World Junior Championships start today with four games, and we'll get to see both of last year's finalists play today. There are a lot of reasons to watch this tournament, but there's no doubt that the number one reason to watch is for that one player or that moment that will simply go down in hockey history. There are a number of them that have happened so far, and there's a pretty good chance that we'll see one again in this year's tournament in Buffalo, New York. The Americans are the reigning champions so you know the people in Buffalo will be pushing the American boys hard, but the Canadians want supremacy back and the Canadian fans aren't afraid to make the trek south for one of the longest traditions in Canadian hockey history. Let's take a look at some of the greatest moments in Canadian international junior hockey history.
Gretzky wearing Canadian blue? Canada in Cooperalls? It happened!
2007 World Junior Shooutout - Canada vs. USA
Jonathan Toews becomes a household name in both countries.
Jordan Eberle's goal against Russia in 2009
Canada wins this game in the shootout. Spectacular goal!
John Carlson's gold medal goal in 2010
And the rivalry becomes even more intense between these two countries.
The tournament starts today with Germany against Switzerland, Canada plays Russia in the afternoon game, Sweden battles Norway in a Scandinavian evening matchup, and Team USA takes the ice in the primetime game tonight against the Finns. I am excited for these games, and I'm looking forward to another magical World Junior Tournament this year!
Just as an aside, the Spengler Cup - a third tradition in this house - starts today as well, but Canada doesn't have their first game until tomorrow. Canada battles the KHL's Spartak Moscow and the Swiss Elite League's HC Davos in their pool. We'll have more on the Spengler Cup tomorrow as Canada looks to capture another title during the holiday season!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!