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It’s almost time for the 2022 WJC

The annual post-Christmas tradition returns to Alberta on Boxing Day.

USA-Blue v Finland Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

This year the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship returns to a format more like it used to be. Not everything is back to normal, but it’s different to the bubble event held last year in Edmonton. The 2021 host was supposed to include Red Deer, so they are sharing the hosting duties this year with Edmonton.

Tickets went on sale earlier this month for the event, and so far, the expectation is the games will go on with full capacity crowds. This is, of course subject to change, and some preliminary friendlies were cancelled earlier this week.

This thread has some information, current as of Monday, about the state of Covid protocols.

The format is more like a regular setup, with two groups of teams, each playing out of one of the two venues.

Group A

In Rogers Place in Edmonton, this group is made up of:

  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Czechia
  • Austria

Leafs fans will want to watch Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemelä on team Finland.

Group B

In Red Deer at WP Centrium, this group is made up of:

  • USA
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Slovakia
  • Switzerland

Leafs fans will want to focus on Matt Knies on Team USA.

Format

Each group plays a round-robin and only one team in each group is eliminated. The top four from each group crossover in the usual manner for the quarterfinals on January 2. 1A plays 4B, 2A plays 3B, etc.

The semifinals, on January4, are re-seeded by placement in the group stage, points, goal differential, and original seeding pre-tournament.

The two medal games are played on January 5, both in Edmonton.

Relegation returns to IIHF top-level events with this tournament. During the pandemic, many lower level tournaments were cancelled, and the relegation and promotion system was paused. On the last day, the two fifth-place teams in each group play to stay in the top-level tournament next year. The loser will be relegated to Division I Group A for 2023.

The 2022 Division I Group A tournament was held in Denmark last week. The winner, Belarus, will be added to the WJC for 2023.

The IIHF uses a three-point system. A regulation win gets three, overtime or shootout is two for the winner, while the losing team gets one.

During the round-robin, games have a five-minute three-on-three overtime after a three-minute intermission. A shootout will be used after if necessary.

All playoff games. other than the gold-medal game, have the same procedure, except the overtime is 10 minutes.

For the gold-medal game, overtime is 20-minute periods of three-on-three with 15-minute intermissions until the game is decided.

IIHF shootout rules are slightly different to what the NHL uses. To begin, each team must put out five different shooters for a five-round shootout. If the game remains tied, the teams may than use whatever shooters they like, including repeating shooters multiple times, in a tie-breaking formula where as soon as one team scores and the other doesn’t in a pair, the game is decided.

Schedule

The games begin on Boxing Day and the round-robin ends on New Year’s Eve with Canada vs Finland at 7 pm (Eastern Time) and USA vs Russia at 9:30 pm as the marquee games.

The full schedule, team information, standings, etc. can be found at: https://www.iihf.com/en/events/2022/wm20

Broadcast and Streaming

In Canada, TSN is the exclusive rights holder to the WJC. All games will be broadcast and/or streamed on TSN channels and at TSN.ca. A one-month subscription for streaming online is still 19.99 plus tax.

In the USA, some games are available on NHL Network. The IIHF site should show you the rights holder in your country. For locations without a broadcaster, the games are usually available streamed.