By Cole Parkinson
Well, it may have happened in August instead of January, but the 2022 World Junior gold medal was handed out this past weekend — and Canada once again finished atop the podium.
While Finland gave Canada everything they could, the Canadians were able to secure the gold with a 3-2 overtime win thanks to a Kent Johnson goal a few minutes into the extra frame. This is now the 19th time the Canadians have won the tournament since the official WJC began in 1977.
While the Canadians looked great when the tournament kicked off in December 2021, the eventual cancellation was a letdown for fans across the country. Getting this tournament in during August was far from ideal for anyone, but it at least allowed for players to put on their country’s sweaters before the hockey season truly begins in a few weeks.
It was a weird watching experience from home as well — with low crowd attendance across all of the round-robin games and it felt like a throwback to COVID-19 days where you could hear a pin drop during game action. And as I talked about last week, having the tournament in August, having high ticket prices, and Hockey Canada’s current situation were all unideal. Even the gold medal game only saw around 5,000 fans in the stands — Rogers Place can hold over 18,000, so not great.
This tournament was made for Christmas time, and placing it in the summer was never going to have the same feel. The good news is the next WJC tournament is just months away. And looking at this summer edition, at least there were some close exciting games. The Americans were upset by Czechia in the quarters while Sweden and Finland were able to once again bring home medals. But it truly was a tournament dominated by the Canadians who went undefeated.
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