UFA – There’s always more than meets the eye when you scrutinize the recent history of the IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship. Let’s check out some striking examples.
The last time Canada won gold at the World Juniors (2009), George W. Bush was still the President of the United States, Michael Jackson was still alive, and Sidney Crosby didn’t have a Stanley Cup ring or an Olympic gold medal.
Heading into Russia’s game against the United States on December 28, Nail Yakupov had never scored a goal at the U20 World Championship. Chosen first overall by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2012 NHL Draft, the 18-year-old Russian right winger racked up nine assists in seven games en route to a silver medal last year as a U20 rookie in Alberta. Yakupov got another assist in Russia’s opening 3-2 win over Slovakia in Ufa.
If the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev Ufa triumphs at the 2012 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, it will become the first club team ever from a host World Junior city to capture that trophy while the U20 tournament is in progress. This year marks the 37th
The last time the Czech Republic won gold at the World Juniors (2001), Bill Clinton was still the President of the United States, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Myspace didn’t exist, and Jaromir Jagr was 28 years old.
This is the fifth straight year that Finland has featured at least one of the Granlund brothers on its roster. Mikael Granlund made his U20 debut at the 2009 World Juniors in Ottawa, becoming the youngest Finn ever to do so at the age of 16. The crafty centre played at the next two tournaments, reaping an All-Star berth in 2012 for his 11-point performance. His younger brother Markus was a rookie at the 2012 tournament, where Finland came fourth, and is back again in Ufa.
Russia’s coaching staff features a former player who appeared at two Olympics and four top-level IIHF World Championships – but didn’t play a single minute for Russia. Yevgeni Koreshkov, 42, was born in Ust-Kamenogorsk, and the nifty forward spent his entire international career representing Kazakhstan.
Ron “Popeye” Jones, the father of rookie American U20 defenceman Seth Jones, played 11 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with six different teams. Seth Jones is being touted as a potential first overall 2013 NHL draft pick, and he’d be in some good company with Russia’s Alexander Ovechkin (#1 in 2004) if that comes to pass. Ovechkin, too, is the son of a former elite basketball player: his mother Tatyana twice won Olympic gold (1976, 1980) with the Soviet national women’s team.
The last time Finland won gold at the World Juniors (1998), Boris Yeltsin was the President of Russia, James Cameron’s Titanic hadn’t won any Academy Awards yet, and current assistant coach Tomek Valtonen played on the U20 team.