Monday, January 2, 2012

Things You May Not Know About The 2012 World Juniors

The World Juniors are in their final stages, and there have been plenty of storylines throughout the tournament. Evgeni Kuznetsov's 9 point game. The USA bowing out after the preliminary round. Petr Mrazek's goalie celes. Overall, it's been a great tourney so far with some of the most exciting preliminary round games in recent memory. However there are some stories or facts you may have missed in all the drama. And with that, we present you with Things You May Not Know About The 2012 World Juniors:

  • USA defenceman, John Merrill, hadn't played a game this season until the World Juniors because he had been suspended by the University of Michigan Wolverines for a violation of team rules. Had to have been rough not playing a meaningful game in almost 8 months.
  • Dougie and Freddie Hamilton's parents were Canadian Olympians, and actually met at the 1984 Olympics. Oh yeah, the brothers are both geniuses too. Talk about good genes.
  • Team Russia has the #1 and #2 ISS ranked prospects in their lineup with Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov. Grigorenko who moved into the #1 slot was much more impressive than Yakupov before going down with injury.
  • Danish coach, Todd Bjorkstrand is coaching his two sons, Patrick and Oliver. Talk about putting pressure on your kids.
  • Team Canada defenceman, Jamie Oleksiak, who is listed as 6"7" 252lbs is the biggest player at the WJC. Oleksiak just turned 19 on December 21st - how are these kids so big? Jarred Tinordi is another tower at 6'7" 215lbs. Those are some big boys throwing their weight around.
  • At 5'5" and 126lbs, Swiss forward, Lino Martschini is the smallest player in the tournament. I feel like Zdeno Chara takes shits roughly the same size. 
  • Surprisingly enough, Canada does not have the highest attendance for a team at the tournament despite being held in Edmonton and Calgary. Through the preliminary round, Canada games averaged 16,158 at Rexall Place in Edmonton while four teams from Group A playing at the Scotiabank Saddledome averaged higher attendances. Yes, even Latvia had a higher attendance average. 

  • There are four 16 year olds at the 2012 World Juniors: Denmark forwards Mads Eller and Oliver Bjorkstrand, Aleksander Barkov of Finland and the youngest player at the tournament who turned 16 two months ago is Swiss defenceman Phil Baltisberger. 
  • There are often a lot of players in the tournament with last names of NHL players which leads people to ask if there is any relation. Oddly enough, Czech Republic's Petr Holik is not related to Bobby Holik, but he is the uncle of Czech defenceman, David Musil.
  • The 50/50 draw has been pretty big in Edmonton and Calgary, and the New Year's Eve showdown between Canada and USA has been the highest so far with a $146,140 prize being awarded. If trends continue, the Canadian semi-final should be even higher.
  • Only one team will be relegated to Division I this year (Latvia vs. Denmark on Wednesday should be an exciting game), and the Germans will be back in 2013 after going undefeated at this years Division I Championship on home ice with a +25 goal differential. 
  • The official song for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships is called "I Was There" and its performed by Alberta native, Paul Brandt. Pretty solid hockey song that makes you think back to playing road hockey and breaking windows. Not sure if it tops the 2011 World Hockey Championship song though. 

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