Alexis Lafreniere celebrates after winning gold.Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

What to expect from the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Team Canada is getting ready to hit the ice at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta. The tournament will take place December 25-January 5 in a bubble environment at Rogers Place where Canada is looking to defend its title on home ice. While the tournament begins on Christmas day with three games, Canada will kick off its schedule at 6 p.m. ET on Boxing Day, December 26, against Germany.

For the full schedule, click here.

READ: Team Canada wins gold over Russia at the 2020 World Juniors

Before the puck drops, let’s take a look at what we can expect from this year’s tournament.

44th tournament

Canada forward Tyler Steenbergen (17) celebrates his game winning goal against Sweden during third period gold medal final IIHF World Junior Championships hockey action in Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday, January 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

READ: Top 10 moments at the World Juniors for Team Canada

This year marks the 44th edition of the tournament since it first began in 1977. Prior that, three unofficial junior championships were held from 1974 to 1976. Canada will have hosted the tournament 14 times, including three in Edmonton (1995, 2012, 2021). Canada will also host the 2022 tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer.

18 titles

Team Canada celebrates after defeating Russia in the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships, Sunday, January 5, 2020 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canada holds the most titles in World Juniors history with 18. Over the years, they’ve also collected 9 silvers and five bronze for a total of 32 medals in the tournament’s 44-year history.

2 Golden Eras

Dion Phaneuf celebrates with the trophy after their gold medal win at the 2005 World Juniors (Photo: CP)

READ: World Juniors: Remembering the 2005 “All-Star” team

Team Canada had two golden eras at the World Juniors, where they dominated the tournament for five years at a time. From 1993 to 1997 and again from 2005 to 2009, Canada won five consecutive gold medals. This year’s squad will be looking to build off of last year’s success in the tournament with back-to-back golds.

20 first-round draft picks

Quinton Byfield skating

Quinton Byfield, the OHL’s rookie of the year, skates during an intersquad game at Hockey Canada’s men’s under-18 hockey camp in Calgary, Alta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

This year’s roster is stacked with first round NHL draft picks, including all 14 forwards. A total of 20 players representing Canada are first rounders, including 10 who were selected at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Taylor Gauthier is the sole undrafted player, who will be eligible in 2021.

6 returning players

Finland’s Lenni Killinen, left, skates past as Canada’s Jamie Drysdale, right, celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the U20 Ice Hockey Worlds semifinal match between Finland and Canada in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

This year’s team is full of fresh talent looking to make an impression. Just six players from last year’s championship team will be returning: Quinton Byfield, Dylan Cozens, Connor McMichael, Dawson Mercer, Bowen Byrum and Jamie Drysdale.

2 Newfoundlanders

Canada’s Dawson Mercer is stopped by Finland goaltender Justus Annunen during second period semifinal action at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Saturday, January 4, 2020 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Mercer, from Bay Roberts, NL is back for another year and will be joined by St. John’s native Alex Newhook. This is the first time two kids from The Rock have made it to the same World Juniors since John Slaney and Chad Penney in 1992.

1 International Debut

Team Red right winger Jack Quinn (22) celebrates his goal during first period action of the CHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont. on Thursday, January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Forward Jack Quinn will be making his international debut for Canada at the 2021 World Juniors. The Ottawa 67’s winger, who scored 52 goals last season (the most on this year’s WJC team!), had never been invited to a Hockey Canada event before this year’s selection camp.

Bubble format

Home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers Rogers Place arena is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday July 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

This year’s tournament will look a little different without fans in attendance as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to what we saw in the NHL playoffs, all games will be played in a secure, “bubble” format to ensure the safety of both players and staff. Rogers Place was selected as one of two hubs when the NHL resumed action, hosting the Western Conference playoffs, the NHL Conference Finals and the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals.

2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Roster:


Dylan Garand (Victoria, BC)

Taylor Gauthier (Calgary, AB)

Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Oremeaux, QC)


Justin Barron (Halifax, NS)

Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, BC)

Jamie Drysdale (Toronto, ON)

Kaiden Guhle (Sherwood Park, AB)

Thomas Harley (Jamesville NY)

Kaedan Korczak (Yorkton, SK)

Braden Schneider (Prince Albert, SK)

Jordan Spence (Cornwall, PEI)


Quinton Byfield (Newmarket, ON)

Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, YT)

Kirby Dach (Fort Saskatchewan, AB)

Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek, AB)

Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, AB)

Connor McMichael (Ajax, ON)

Dawson Mercer (Bay Roberts, NL)

Alex Newhook (St. John’s, NL)

Jakob Pelletier (Quebec City, QC)

Cole Perfetti (Whitby, ON)

Jack Quinn (Cobden, ON)

Ryan Suzuki (London, ON)

Philip Tomasino (Mississauga, ON)

Connor Zary (Saskatoon, SK)