I’ve always thought of the World Junior Championship as hockey’s version of March Madness. And like the NCAA basketball tournament that is synonymous with momentous upsets and competitors on the cusp of pro careers, the WJC gets its share of plucky underdog teams.
Back in my day, I’d watch March Madness to see what a then-unknown program like Gonzaga could do or marvel at the fact there was a team called the Campbell University Fighting Camels. At the world juniors this year, the good folks in Victoria fell in love with the newest team to participate in the top rung of the under-20s: Kazakhstan.
Now, Kazakhstan was a minnow in this tournament, to be sure. The team had no NHL draft picks – even Denmark had a couple – and no one was even sure if it had a goal song until the second game of ...
About the Author
Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.