Skip to main content

Top 5 Interesting World Junior Championship Facts

The World Junior Championship is a staple of hockey fans. With that comes a long list of famous moments, including major upsets, scoring records and other oddities that wouldn't make sense today. Here's a look at five interesting WJC tidbits from the event's history.

The World Junior Championship has become a staple of hockey fans around the holiday season. With that comes a long list of famous moments, including major upsets, scoring records and other oddities that wouldn't make sense today. Here's a look at five interesting WJC tidbits:

The tournament has been played only once in multiple nations

In the six-decade history of the World Junior Championship as an IIHF sanctioned event, multiple countries have shared hosting duties of it just once. The 1982 event, which saw Canada take home the gold for the first time, was jointly hosted in the United States and Canada. Various cities across Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario hosted the tournament. 

The 1982 event also enters into world juniors lore for the Canadians making the most out of there not being a recording of O Canada being available to be played after clinching the gold medal. The players took it upon themselves to sing the anthem -- a bit out of tune, but boisterous nonetheless.  

The biggest upset in tournament history was not televised

The 1998 iteration will always go down as the worst tournament for Canada. 

A Canadian squad with high expectations and loaded with future NHLers barely made it out of the round-robin and headed into the quarter-finals fourth in their group. A loss in the quarterfinals to Russia, followed by a placement game loss to the USA, meant playing Kazakhstan in the 7th place game. 

Kazakhstan would shock the Canadians with a 6-3 win. Sportsnet's Gare Joyce wrote about the battle in 2018 with first-hand accounts from Canadian players who said Kazakhstan players shared a single water bottle and even sticks. By all accounts, Canada should have dominated the game.

The game will forever live on only in player accounts as the game for whatever reason was not televised by TSN nor is there any audio or even photographs of the game. To have one of the more unexpected results in tournament history live on via word of mouth only might be one of the more fascinating stories in all of hockey. 

A decade later, Canada beat Kazakhstan 15-0.

No player has recorded 20 or more points in a tournament since 1993

There are always a few players who everyone is chasing in points in this event and in 1993, Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund set the barriers so high they may never be surpassed. Playing in their home country during the tournament, Forsberg and Naslund recorded 31 and 24 points respectively as the duo led Sweden to a silver medal. 

Sweden's offense was an absolute buzzsaw during the tournament as they scored a tournament-best 53 goals, with their biggest output being a 20-1 win over Japan. 

Yes, you read that right. 20-1. The Swedish win is still the most lopsided game in World Juniors history as Forsberg would record 10 points in the victory.

A playoff round did not arrive until 1996

For close to 20 years of the world juniors history as an IIHF event, and even going back to the days of being an unofficial tournament, the round-robin portion determined who won medals. 

That meant, often, that the final day would mean nothing if a team went undefeated leading up to the conclusion. The 1996 event in Massachusetts was the first that saw the introduction of a playoff round to determine the gold, silver, and bronze medals. The same event also saw the introduction of the relegation round and two groups containing five teams each.

CHL teams represented Canada before 1977

Various CHL teams would have the honor of representing Canada before the IIHF came along and made it the premier U-20 tournament. In 1974, the OHL's Peterborough Petes would play in the first-ever tournament, with the WHL sending an all-star squad the following year. 

The Sherbrooke Castors of the QMJHL have the honor of being the last team from Canada's major junior league to play in the event. A Canadian team medaled every year under this format, but none of them ever took the ultimate prize.



Nazem Kadri Went Through Incredible Pain to Win Stanley Cup

Nazem Kadri couldn't even tie his own skates before games. He visibly played through intense pain. He laid it all on the line to win the Stanley Cup, and it paid off - and he had a message for his haters, too.


How the Colorado Avalanche Dominated their Way to the Stanley Cup

The 2021-22 Avalanche are among the deepest and most dominant collections of talent the NHL has seen in recent memory. It took years of tinkering, but it worked out.


Colorado Avalanche Beat Lightning to Win 2022 Stanley Cup

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Lightning in Game 6 to win their first Stanley Cup since 2001.