With preliminary games beginning on December 19th, before the round robin tournament begins on Boxing Day in Toronto and Montreal, international teams will play in 10 games in 8 cities across Ontario and Quebec until December 23rd, when rosters will be completed and teams will break for Christmas.
See the complete WJC 2015 schedule.
The tournament returns to Canada after two years abroad with hosts Russia and Sweden. It is also the first time in decades that the best of hockey’s future will be featured in Montreal & Toronto. The last time the WJC skated in Montreal was in 1978 when a young Wayne Gretzky won tournament MVP.
This year features a new phenom in the highly touted prospect Conor McDavid who has been cleared for contact at the World Junior Championships after a broken bone in his hand had the hockey world on edge that he might miss the tournament.
McDavid is playing in his second World Junior tournament making him one of the many veterans on team Canada’s squad, despite that he is just 17 years old and has yet to reach draft eligibility. Alongside him are other notable NHL prospects Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers), Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres) and Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers).
All three are players to watch and with the exception of Nurse, they are returning to the WJC with the determination to prove that Canada still stands as one of the best hockey nations in the world, despite what recent detractors might believe.
“With it being on our soil and with the home crowd behind us and stuff like that, I don’t see any reason why this can’t be the year for Canada,” McDavid told the National Post. “It’s our game, hockey’s our game and it’s our pride, it’s our joy and it’s our job to put the belief back into Canadians.”
In recent years, Team Canada has stumbled. They have won a bronze medal and two silvers over the last five tournaments and came away medal-less in 2013 and 2014. Canada has not won the Gold Medal since 2009 when Jordan Eberle, John Tavares and P.K. Subban were in the lineup. The 2015 WJC Team Canada roster could prove to be just as talented and are the early odds-on favourites to win Gold.
Canada will play Russia on December 19th in the first preliminary game in Toronto. The round robin gets underway on Boxing Day followed by the one-and-done elimination round beginning January 2nd.