World Junior flashback
by Adam Steiss|09 NOV 2019
Canada defeated Sweden on the final day of the round robin tournament to win gold. 
photo: Ales Krecl / IIHF archive

In the more than 40-year history of the IIHF World Junior Championship, the upcoming tournament in 2020 will be the fourth to take place in the Czech Republic.

It is interesting to note that the first one held on Czech soil came in 1994, just one year after the break-up of Czechoslovakia. The independent Czech Republic was approaching its first birthday when it hosted its first-ever ice hockey championship. The tournament took place in the eastern Czech cities of Ostrava and Frýdek-Místek.
The current 10-team format used at the World Juniors didn’t come into force until 1996, so the 1994 tournament in the Czech Republic was still under the old “round robin” system. That event was attended by eight teams (Czech Republic, Finland, Canada, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, USA) and each played seven games – one against every other team.
The team with the best record in Ostrava and Frýdek-Místek was Canada, led by head coach Jos Canale, which dropped only a single point during the tournament in a 3-3 tie with Russia. They beat all other opponents by at least two goals, but that included an empty-net goal in an all-important game on the last day of competition against Sweden.

The 1994 triumph was the second of five in a row for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship. The Canadians would duplicate that feat from 2005 to 2009, but no other team has ever done so. Individually, Jamie Storr was named best goalkeeper and three Canadians ranked in the top four of tournament scoring.
Just one point back of Canada were the Swedes, who were awarded silver for the third year in a row. The 6-4 defeat to Canada on the final day was the only blemish on their record. The Swedish team was also loaded with stars – Kenny Jonsson was named best defenceman of the tournament and Niklas Sundstrom was best forward. With 11 points (4+7), Sundstrom also led the tournament in scoring, and both future NHLers were named to the All-Star Team.
Russia claimed bronze, which was the country’s first official medal since the collapse of the USSR. In addition to their tie against Canada, the Russians also lost 3-0 to Sweden and finished with 11 points. Goaltender Yevgeni Ryabchikov was named to the tournament All-Star Team, as was forward Valeri Bure – the younger brother of Hall-of-Famer Pavel Bure.
As for the teams outside of the medals, Finland finished fourth with eight points. The Finns were led by a couple of future stars – forward Saku Koivu and defenceman Kimmo Timonen – with the latter being named to the All-Star Team. The Czech Republic took fifth place with six points, a respectable finish in its first year after independence. In addition, David Výborný was on the All-Star Team and Petr Sýkora tied for the goal lead with six.
The United States took sixth place with three points and in seventh with two was Germany. The Germans remained in the top division thanks to a 3-1 win over the Swiss, who, in turn, were relegated and replaced by Ukraine in 1995. Switzerland got its only point through a 1-1 tie with the USA.