What a way to ring in 2019.
Hockey Canada has unveiled the IIHF World Junior Championship schedule, which begins this December in Vancouver and Victoria.
The schedule is highlighted by a New Year’s Eve matchup at Rogers Arena between Canada and Russia, which will likely decide the winner of Group A.
Canada opens the tournament on Boxing Day against Denmark, before playing Switzerland (December 27), the Czech Republic (December 29), and Russia (December 31) to close out the preliminary round.
The 11-day tournament concludes on January 5, with the gold medal game in Vancouver.
“The announcement of the tournament schedule is another indication of how close we are to puck-drop on Boxing Day,” said tournament director Riley Wiwchar. “Excitement has been building for months in the province, and that now extends across the country and around the world as fans get set to enjoy some of the best international hockey the world has to offer.”
This year’s tournament is expected to have some Canucks content, with Vancouver prospect Michael DiPietro the favourite to be Canada’s starting goaltender. First-round draft pick Quinn Hughes should be one of Team USA’s top players, though fans in Vancouver won’t get to see him until the knockout round, as the Americans play the entirety of the preliminary round in Victoria.
After winning just one gold medal in eight years, Canada recaptured World Junior glory at last year’s tournament in Buffalo, defeating Sweden in the gold medal game.
2019 World Juniors schedule
Canada-Russia is the marquee game to watch out for in Group A, while USA-Sweden is the most high-profile matchup in Victoria.
All of Canada’s games begin at 5 pm PT, presumably for national television purposes.
The tournament is split between Rogers Arena in Vancouver and the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, shifting entirely to Vancouver following the quarter-final.
Group A (Vancouver)
|Wed, Dec 26||1:00 PM||Vancouver||Czech Rep vs Switzerland|
|Wed, Dec 26||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Canada vs Denmark|
|Thu, Dec 27||1:00 PM||Vancouver||Russia vs Denmark|
|Thu, Dec 27||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Switzerland vs Canada|
|Fri, Dec 28||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Czech Rep vs Russia|
|Sat, Dec 29||1:00 PM||Vancouver||Denmark vs Switzerland|
|Sat, Dec 29||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Canada vs Czech Rep|
|Sun, Dec 30||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Switzerland vs Russia|
|Mon, Dec 31||1:00 PM||Vancouver||Denmark vs Czech Rep|
|Mon, Dec 31||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Russia vs Canada|
Group B (Victoria)
|Wed, Dec 26||3:30 PM||Victoria||USA vs Slovakia|
|Wed, Dec 26||7:30 PM||Victoria||Finland vs Sweden|
|Thu, Dec 27||3:30 PM||Victoria||Slovakia vs Sweden|
|Thu, Dec 27||7:30 PM||Victoria||Finland vs Kazakhstan|
|Fri, Dec 28||7:30 PM||Victoria||Kazakhstan vs USA|
|Sat, Dec 29||3:30 PM||Victoria||Slovakia vs Finland|
|Sat, Dec 29||7:30 PM||Victoria||Sweden vs USA|
|Sun, Dec 30||7:30 PM||Victoria||Kazakhstan vs Slovakia|
|Mon, Dec 31||3:30 PM||Victoria||Sweden vs Kazakhstan|
|Mon, Dec 31||7:30 PM||Victoria||USA vs Finland|
|Wed, Jan 2||11:00 AM||Vancouver||Relegation|
|Wed, Jan 2||1:00 PM||Victoria||Quarter-final|
|Wed, Jan 2||3:30 PM||Vancouver||Quarter-final|
|Wed, Jan 2||5:00 PM||Victoria||Quarter-final|
|Wed, Jan 2||7:30 PM||Vancouver||Quarter-final|
|Fri, Jan 4||9:00 AM||Vancouver||Relegation|
|Fri, Jan 4||1:00 PM||Vancouver||Semi-final|
|Fri, Jan 4||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Semi-final|
|Sat, Jan 5||9:00 AM||Vancouver||Relegation|
|Sat, Jan 5||1:00 PM||Vancouver||Bronze medal|
|Sat, Jan 5||5:00 PM||Vancouver||Gold medal|