The 1993 World Junior Championship in Sweden was the last tournament to feature a team representing Czechoslovakia, which won the bronze medal and was after New Year’s Eve called Czech and Slovak Republics when the split-up became formal.
In 1994, the Czech Republic took its place in the elite group, while the Slovaks had to start from the bottom in the Group C qualification tournament, in which they succeeded and subsequently won advancement to Group B for 1995 in Denmark.
In 1994, the World Junior Championship was an eight-team round-robin tournament, and the top-three teams after seven games played won the medals. Entering play on the final day, Sweden faced Canada in Ostrava with the gold medal on the line. The Swedes had a perfect 6-0 record while the Canadians had lost a point in a 3-3 tie with Russia, meaning they needed to win to claim the gold medal, and a tie would be good enough for Sweden. In a dramatic game, Canada led 5-4 late with the Swedes desperately pushing for the equalizing goal before an empty-netter secured victory for the Canadians.
Despite a talented roster, the Czech team finished out of the medals. The defence was anchored by Jaroslav Spacek and Marek Malik, and up front were names such as David Vyborny, Vaclav Prospal and Petr Sykora (tied for the goal-scoring lead with six). However, the team could do no better than fifth.
The roster of the sixth-placed Americans included forwards Jay Pandolfo, Richard Park and Jamie Langenbrunner, while the seventh-placed Germans relied on Jochen Hecht. In last place were the Swiss, who were replaced a year later in the elite group by Ukraine.
The 1994 World Junior Championship drew plenty of fans in the Moravian-Silesian Region. In all, 28 games were attended by 58,143 spectators, for an average of 2,423 per game. In Ostrava, a total of 30,270 attended the games, with 27,773 in nearby Frydek-Mistek. How many hockey fans will the championship attract in 2020?
Final standings of the 1994 IIHF World Junior Championship:
5. Czech Republic