The first day of the 2022 World Juniors has arrived. After being postponed after three days of action in December due to COVID, the event comes back in August, as the USA begins with a battle versus Germany.
The defending champions, the United States, will compete in the event. The Americans defeated Canada in the gold medal game of the 2021 World Juniors to capture the country’s sixth World Juniors gold medal. The Americans had never won back-to-back World Juniors.
While the possibility of a repetition exists, only four members of that championship team will be donning the red, white, and blue in Edmonton. Nate Leamon, head coach of the United States, emphasized the need of preparing with the players they do have in order to achieve in 2022.
“I believe it’s always out there, over your head and in the cloud,” Leaman said of winning back-to-back titles. “But we didn’t win last year by talking about it every day; we won the gold medal by preparing and working, and that’s kind of our emphasis right now.”
Germany finished sixth in the 2021 World Juniors, losing in the quarterfinals to Russia. That club boasted an outstanding top line of Tim Stützle, JJ Peterka, and Florian Elias, but none of them will be in Edmonton this time. Germany will be led by defenseman Luca Münzenberger and Maximilian Glötzl, as well as forward Alexander Blank.