The 2021 IIHF under-20 World Junior Championship will begin on Christmas Day and run through Jan. 5, 2021, with no fans at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. It’s the first time since 2005 the tournament will open on Christmas.
All players will be tested for COVID-19 before they leave their current location, then travel by charter flight or bus into Canada then be tested again once they arrive. Daily testing is expected to occur like it did for the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Exhibition games will be Dec. 20-23 at Rogers Place.
The United States is in Group B with Austria, Czech Republic, Russia and Sweden. Reigning champion Canada is in Group A along with Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Both groups will play all their games at Rogers Place. Teams will play the round robin within their group from Dec. 25 to Dec. 31 before the quarterfinals begin Jan. 2 with the top four in each group against each other. The semifinals will be re-seeded and take place Jan. 4 before the medal games Jan. 5.
Forward Kirby Dach is eligible to play for Canada. He scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 64 regular-season games and six points (one goal, five assists) in nine postseason games during his rookie season.
As long as the NHL season gets underway any time in January, with camps opening a few weeks earlier, I’m hard pressed to envision last year’s full-time NHLers playing at the WJC. NJ, NYR, CHI won’t close any doors until they get further clarity on start dates, though...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 20, 2020
...it’s safe to say all three teams view Hughes, Kakko and Dach as pros and the priorities for teams/players is NHL focused. would love to get Lafreniere/Dach, would be thrilled to get Hughes, ditto for with Kakko but none of those countries are banking on it.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 20, 2020
The Blackhawks had three prospects at Team USA selection camp with defenseman Alex Vlasic, forward Landon Slaggert and goaltender Drew Commesso.
Forwards Lukas Reichel (Germany), Antti Saarela (Finland) and Michal Teply (Czech Republic) all played in last year’s tournament and will look to return.
2021 WJC exhibition schedule
Dec. 20: United States v Switzerland, 5 p.m.
Dec. 20: Finland v Czech Republic, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 21: Austria v Germany, 1 p.m.
Dec. 21: Sweden v Canada, 5 p.m.
Dec. 21: Russia v Slovakia, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 22: Finland v United States, 5 p.m.
Dec. 22: Switzerland v Sweden, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 23: Slovakia v Austria, 1 p.m.
Dec. 23: Canada v Russia, 5 p.m.
Dec. 23: Czech Republic v Germany, 8:30 p.m.
2021 WJC schedule
Dec. 25: Switzerland v Slovakia, 1 p.m.
Dec. 25: Germany v Finland, 5 p.m.
Dec. 25: Russia v United States, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 26: Sweden v Czech Republic, 1 p.m.
Dec. 26: Germany v Canada, 5 p.m.
Dec. 26: United States v Austria, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 27: Finland v Switzerland, 1 p.m.
Dec. 27: Slovakia v Canada, 5 p.m.
Dec. 27: Czech Republic v Russia, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 28: Austria v Sweden, 5 p.m.
Dec. 28: Slovakia v Germany, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 29: United States v Czech Republic, 1 p.m.
Dec. 29: Canada v Switzerland, 5 p.m.
Dec. 29: Austria v Russia, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 30: Finland v Slovakia, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 30: Switzerland v Germany, 1 p.m.
Dec. 30: Russia v Sweden, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 31: Czech Republic v Austria, 1 p.m.
Dec. 31: Canada v Finland, 5 p.m.
Dec. 31: Sweden v United States, 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 2: Quarterfinals, 11 a.m.
Jan. 2: Quarterfinals, 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 2: Quarterfinals, 6 p.m.
Jan. 2: Quarterfinals, 9:30 p.m.
Jan. 3: Semifinals, 5 p.m.
Jan. 3: Semifinals, 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 5: Bronze-medal game, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 5: Gold-medal game, 8:30 p.m.
(All times Central)