1st official tournament dominated by USSR, led by young Makarov and Fetisov
After three unofficial tournaments, the first official World Junior Championship was held in 1977 in the Czechoslovak cities of Banska Bystrica and Zvolen. The tournament was dominated by the Soviet Union, which won all seven games and whose squad had future hockey icons Vyacheslav Fetisov and Sergei Makarov.
Silver was won by Canada, whose roster included Rob Ramage and future three-time Stanley Cup champion Dave Hunter. The host Czechoslovaks finished third, with Jiri Hrdina, Jiri Lala and Vladimir Caldr, who all went on to win silver medals at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Other notables were Finnish defenceman Risto Siltanen and Swedish forward Bengt-Ake Gustafsson.
1987: Brawl between Soviets and Canadians results in disqualification of both teams
The World Junior Championship was hosted by Czechoslovakia again 10 years later. In 1987, it took place in four cities – Piestany, Nitra, Trencin and Topolcany. The tournament was marred by a memorable bench-clearing brawl between Canada and the Soviet Union on the final day of competition in Piestany. The game was suspended and both teams were disqualified from the championship. Among the disqualified players were Canadians Theoren Fleury and Brendan Shanahan and Soviets Alexander Mogilny, Sergei Fyodorov and Vladimir Konstantinov.
Finland won the gold medal after defeating Czechoslovakia 5-3 on the final day. The Czechoslovaks took silver and bronze went to Sweden. The Finns were led by the goaltending of Markus Ketterer and the scoring of Janne Ojanen, the leading scorer was Swedish forward Ulf Dahlen, with seven goals and eight assists, and the Americans had Brian Leetch and Scott Young. Czechoslovakia's roster included Robert Kron and Jiri Latal.
In Ostrava, Canada's reign continued and big stars appeared
The first World Junior Championship after the breakup of Czechoslovakia took place in Ostrava and Frydek-Místek in 1994, with the Canadians winning their second of five consecutive gold medals, thanks to a 6-4 win over Sweden on the last day of the tournament. The Swedes, who needed only a tie in the last game to claim gold, had to settle for silver, and Russia took bronze. The Canadian roster included Anson Carter, Jeff Friesen, Todd Harvey, and Mike Peca.
The Swedes had Kenny Jonsson, Mattias Ohlund and Fredrik Modin and the Russians were represented by Oleg Tverdovski, Valeri Bure and Maxim Sushinski. Saku Koivu played for the Finns, Jochen Hecht for Germany, and the Americans had Jay Pandolfo and Richard Park. The host Czech roster included Vaclav Prospal, Petr Sykora, David Vyborny, Jaroslav Spacek and Marek Malik.
In the new millennium: Russians win and goalies shine
Eight years later, the top junior national teams in the world went to Pardubice and neighbouring Hradec Kralove. The tournament was won by Russia, which came from behind to beat Canada 5-4 in an exciting final. The Russians were led offensively by Alexander Frolov (6+2) and Stanislav Chistov, Canada by scoring leader Mike Cammalleri (7+4) and future stars Jason Spezza and Rick Nash.
Despite a star-studded lineup that included Ales Hemsky, Tomas Plekanec, Petr Prucha and Jiri Hudler, the Czech team, which entered the tournament as the two-time reigning champions, finished a disappointing seventh. Notable Nordic goaltenders in the tournament included Kari Lehtonen of Finland and Henrik Lundqvist of Sweden.
Canada beats Sweden in OT, Voracek and Co. finish 5th
The most recent World Junior Championship held in the Czech Republic was 10 years ago, with Pardubice as the primary host and the other group played in Liberec. The tournament was won by Canada, which lost once to Sweden in the group stage but got revenge in the final, winning 3-2 on an overtime goal by Matthew Halischuk. It was Canada's fourth straight gold medal.
Canada was represented by future superstars Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban, Claude Giroux, Brad Marchand, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares, while the Swedes had Jhonas Enroth, Victor Hedman, Mikael Backlund and Patrick Berglund. Third-place Russia had Sergei Bobrovski and Viktor Tikhonov, fourth-place USA had James van Riemsdyk and Max Pacioretty and the fifth-placed Czechs relied on Michael Frolik and Jakub Voracek. The Danish team finished last, but their roster included a couple of notable players – goaltender Frederik Andersen and forward Lars Eller.