It’s Christmas in August for North Vancouver’s Connor Bedard and the rest of Team Canada as they get ready, for the second time, to play the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships.
The hockey tournament featuring the best U20 players in the world is typically a classic Canadian pastime over the winter break, but this year’s event was cancelled Dec. 29, 2021, after three days of play following a rise in COVID-19 cases in and amongst the teams in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta. The young guns are getting another crack at glory this month as the event is set to restart Aug. 9 in Edmonton and conclude with the gold medal game on Saturday, Aug. 20.
The scores, standings and pools have all been reset for the summer event, with Canada landing in a group with Finland, Czechia, Slovakia and Latvia. The other group will feature the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Russia has not been invited to play in the tournament due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Here are the times for Canada’s opening round games:
- Aug. 10: Latvia vs. Canada at 3 p.m. PT
- Aug. 11: Slovakia vs. Canada at 3 p.m. PT
- Aug. 13: Canada vs. Czechia at 3 p.m. PT
- Aug. 15: Canada vs. Finland at 3 p.m. PT
The first attempt at the tournament was cut short, but it lasted long enough for Bedard to make a major impression. The Regina Pats forward became the youngest player in the event’s history to score four goals in one game when he accomplished the feat in an 11-0 win over Austria.
Bedard, who turned 17 on July 17, has already made his mark in the hockey world, becoming the first player to earn exceptional status and early entry into the Western Hockey League. He was named the 2020-‘21 WHL Rookie of the Year, and starred as a “double-underage” player for Canada at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World Championships, where he co-led Canada in scoring with 14 points in seven games, helping the team win gold. He is one of the favourites to be selected first overall in the 2023 NHL draft.
Bedard will be joined on the team by another young star with North Shore ties. Port Moody’s Kent Johnson, a former North Shore Winter Club player, will be an assistant captain for Team Canada.
The entire 2022 World Juniors tournament will be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton. Games will be broadcast on TSN and streamed on TSN.ca or the TSN App.