Now that the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships are over, it’s time to take a look at how each team fared compared to original expectations
The 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships was one of the strangest in recent memory. Canada, who is almost always a favorite to go all the way, was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Finland, losing to them 2-1.
Switzerland had their best showing in almost a decade. Meanwhile, Finland struggled before prospering and eventually winning the whole tournament. Sweden prospered before struggling and much, much more. Every team’s inconsistency made this tournament quite difficult to predict.
Additionally, this tournament leads to more questions about whom the most dominant team really is. No team has won two golds in a row since Canada’s remarkable five consecutive golds from 2005 to 2009.
Nevertheless, the past 6 years have seen the beginning of somewhat of a new era in the WJC. 5 out of these 6 championships, either Canada or Finland has wound up the tournament victor, the United States being the sole outlier in 2017. If the new World Juniors is a battle between Finland and Canada, it’s clear who won this time around.
Maybe this year is a good sign that other teams are starting to catch up to the Canada and United States. Hockey is growing around the world and this year’s World Juniors is proof of that. Czech Republic and Switzerland should be forces to be reckoned with. Even Slovakia nearly put off some upsets.
Let’s take a look at who the biggest winners and losers were from the tournament.