The Tournament Schedule & Groups for the 1st Round were recently announced and confirmed as the cities of Buffalo & Niagara, New York will host the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships from December 26 thru January 5 2011 as the Americans are looking to win back-to-back Gold Medals for the first time ever on American Ice (2010 was in Saskatchewan while 2004 was in Finland).
With the Groups now out, it came up all roses for the Americans were able to avoid all three of the major rivals in Junior Hockey as Canada, Sweden & Russia were bunched up in Group B along with the Czech Republic who finished 7th last year & Norway who were promoted from the U20 Division 1 Tournament by finishing 2nd behind Germany.
The Americans got lucky as Switzerland and Finland will be the teams main opponents for next year's World Juniors. The Swiss are starting to become a more dangerous team in Junior Competitions as they had one of they best years ever by finishing 4th at the WJC & 5th at the U18 World Championships last year.
Finland is looking to come back after several sour performance's in juniors in recent years. The worst performance was in 2009 when the U20 Team was in the relegation round, but hope is starting to come back as the Finns have won the Bronze Medal at each of the last two U18 World Championships.
Rounding out the group is Slovakia who barely survived relegation with a nail bit ting win over Austria and getting crushed to arch rival Czech Republic. Germany ended up winning the U20 DIV. 1 Tournament and won promotion as well.
No Ind. Tickets are on sale right now, however, if they do go on sale. They will be more expensive then the ticket packages per game that you can get either with the Gold, Silver or Bronze Packages right now.
The host arenas will be the HSBC Arena (Home of the Buffalo Sabres) and Dwyer Arena which is on the campus of Niagara University (Home of the Niagara Purple Eagles) as a majority of the games will be at the HSBC Arena. All Group A and Playoff Round Games will be played at the HSBC Arena as well as all the Group B Games involving Canada. The rest of the Group B Games and all the Relegation Round Games will be at the Dwyer Arena.
First Round Groups
USA Group Stage Schedule (All Times are CDT)
12/26: VS. Finland 7:00 PM
12/28: VS. Slovakia 7:00 PM
12/30: VS. Germany 6:00 PM
12/31: VS. Switzerland 7:00 PM
The way it's set up for the USA, it's Taylor Made for the Americans to defend gold next season; with Canada, Sweden & Russia all beating each other up in Group B.
Hopefully the Americans should be able to control this group with relative ease and by the time the Americans reach the Knockout Rounds, hopefully either CAN, SWE or RUS will be so beat up that they may not have much left.
This is a great shot for the USA to have a shot of defending the Gold for the first time ever and winning it on American Soil for the first time.
2011 World Junior Championship Website: http://www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/
2011 World Junior Championship on Twitter: http://twitter.com/2011WorldJrs
Full Prelim Round Schedule: www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/scheduleT.asp
Full Playoff & Relegation Round Schedule: www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/scheduleP.asp
Here's the info for tickets.
Ticket Package: www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/tickets.asp
IND. Tickets: www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/ticketsI.asp
Tickets FAQ: www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/ticketsF.asp
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