TEAM CANADA (0-0-0-0) vs TEAM LATVIA (0-0-0-0)
ROGERS PLACE, EDMONTON, AB
3PM PDT- TSN
Controversy will likely be the takeaway from this tournament even with a gold medal victory for Canada, but the current iteration of the squad will try and focus on the task at hand as they begin their quest for World Junior Gold at home this afternoon in Edmonton. You’ll notice a distinct lack of rinkside ads in Rogers Place, as companies have withdrawn their support of Hockey Canada due to the ongoing multiple sexual assault scandals plaguing the program. It’s also likely to have an impact on the attendance of the tournament, as we saw in a nearly empty building Monday for an exhibition against Sweden.
The Canadians are in Group A along with Finland, Czechia, Slovakia and today’s opponents, Latvia, and will have a good challenge with the other three in their grouping, but today will likely be a bit of a blowout if the Canadians don’t take the Latvians lightly. They’ll play the Slovaks tomorrow, Czechia Saturday and then the big showdown for what should be the decider for first place on Monday against the Finns.
Finland, featuring Canucks 2020 draft pick D Joni Jurmo, cruised to a 6-1 opening day win over the Latvians last night. It’s Jurmo’s first time playing for his national squad, so this will give us a nice look at how he’s progressing in his development on this biggest of junior hockey stages.
Another Canucks pick from 2020, D Jacob Truscott was in action last night, also coming out with a win as Team USA defeated Germany 5-1. And there was one other Group A match, as the Czechs edged out Slovakia 5-4. Other games today include Team Sweden, featuring Canucks 2022 first rounder Jonathan Lekkerimaki in his WJC debut against Switzerland. He is the youngest member of Team Sweden, so expect his action to be limited. Still, it’s great to get a look at him this soon. Following Canada’s game, the Germans will take on Team Austria.
The player to watch in this one is the projected first overall pick for next year’s NHL Entry Draft Connor Bedard, but there’s also Anaheim Ducks prospect Mason McTavish, and Ridley Greig and Zack Ostapchuk, both Ottawa Senators draft picks. Edmonton Oil Kings G Sebastian Cossa will get the start tonight in what must be a massive thrill for him. Expect Kamloops Blazers G Dylan Garand to get the crease on Thursday against Slovakia though.