How Old Are The Players In The World Junior Hockey? [Solved!]

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The World Junior Hockey Tournament has been going strong for almost 70 years now, with the first version being held in Europe in 1954. The tournament was started to celebrate the end of World War II and the resumption of sports activities, with the inaugural tournament being held just six months after the war ended.

Since then, the tournament has expanded to become the longest-running sports event in the world, with the last edition being played in China in 2017. The tournament has also been split into two separate tournaments, with the Under-20s’ competition occurring first and the Over-20s’ competition being played a year later. This article will tell you more about the history of the World Junior Hockey Tournament and its significance in shaping the sport as we know it today. We’ll cover the different categories of players (age-wise and by country), their birthdates, and where they’re playing this year’s edition. You’ll find all this and more in the data below.

Significance Of The World Junior Hockey Tournament

It’s fair to say the World Junior Hockey Tournament is more than just a sport, it’s an institution. The tournament is significant for at least three reasons.

Firstly, it was an attempt by the world’s governing body for hockey, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), to develop a way of measuring the growth of the sport, much like the International Tennis Federation does for tennis. Back in the 1940s, there were only a handful of professional ice hockey clubs across Europe and North America. Since then, the sport has exploded with the creation of the modern NHL and the growth of ice hockey globally. The tournament is a good indicator of this growth because it provides a window into the future of the sport.

Secondly, the world junior hockey tournament has always been considered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to international tournaments. The Under-20s’ tournament is an absolute goldmine for prospects, many of whom go on to play at the collegiate level and beyond. The NHL itself is built on the success of this tournament, with many of its key players, including Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, going on to have illustrious professional careers. The tournament is also a launching pad for international players seeking to make the jump to the professional level, with many players choosing to play in the United States after the tournament, often for an American professional hockey club. Finally, the world junior hockey tournament is the biggest event in the history of amateur hockey, with around 400,000 fans attending each of the eight annual events.

When Is The 2022 World Junior Hockey?

The next edition of the World Junior Hockey Tournament will be held in China from September 12 to 26, 2022. You can see the full schedule here. The IIHF has decided to expand the tournament to another continent in an attempt to continue the growth of the game, which is pretty unprecedented given the fact that most sports franchises struggle to make ends meet during the year. The tournament will once again be played in the city of Chengdu and, for the first time, will feature a city team, the Chengdu Snipers. The city itself is a hotspot for hockey in China, with a team playing in the top tier of the Chinese Hockey League and producing several NHL alumnae, including Stephane Antoli, the first Swiss-born player to make it to the NHL. The last three editions of the tournament have been hosted by China, with the country looking to continue the good work and bring home the gold.

The Ever-Expanding Universe Of Players

The significance of the World Junior Hockey Tournament is that it provides a look into the future of the sport. The tournament has grown exponentially over the years and continues to grow, with over 500 players registered for this year’s tournament. The IIHF isn’t the only governing body responsible for creating and controlling this trend though, with the popularity of hockey growing at an absolutely astronomical rate across Europe in the past 20 years. The sport is a popular choice for children in the region and, as a result, the number of players has increased by around 30% in that time, according to figures from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). While children play a vital role in the growth of hockey, so do the NHL and its affiliates, with many young stars emerging directly from the Under-20s’ tournament, impressing scouts and coaches with an impressive combination of skill and hustle.

There are more than 500 players registered for this year’s World Junior Hockey Tournament, with over 500 expected to take part in the event. The numbers are through to September 6 and include players from all levels of competition. The numbers for the 2021 edition surpass the 500 mark, with around 600 expected participants. In comparison, around 400 players took part in the inaugural tournament in 1954, the numbers increasing each year since then. With the sport experiencing such huge growth across Europe and North America, it’s no surprise to see the World Junior Hockey Tournament continue to grow, too.

How Old Are The Players In The World Junior Hockey?

We now come to the most important question on this topic: how old are the players in the World Junior Hockey? The category-wise breakdown of the participants is as follows:

  • 48 players are between the ages of 18 and 20
  • 140 players are aged between 16 and 17
  • 177 players are between 15 and 15

With the numbers including both men and women, you’ll find a considerable amount of age disparity between players. This is to be expected though, with the most popular sports, including hockey and tennis, often being played by adult professionals with a significant amount of coaching and, in some cases, financial assistance from the sport’s governing bodies. The increase in the number of registered players is a testament to the fact that the sport continues to grow in popularity every year.

What Countries Make Up The World Junior Hockey?

As with any other major sporting event, the world junior hockey tournament is heavily skewed towards one country and one country only. That country is Canada. As mentioned above, Canada is well-known for throwing off the shackles of winter and embracing the opportunity to play games during the warm summer months. This is made easier by the fact that most of the best players in the country are grouped together in the same league, the Major Junior Hockey League. The following is a breakdown of the nationalities of the players participating in this year’s edition of the World Junior Hockey Tournament:

  • 130 out of the 192 countries represented are Canadian
  • 21 out of the 44 participants are from the United States
  • 17 out of the 44 participants are from Russia
  • 14 out of the 44 participants are from Sweden

The fact that Canada is the country that dominates the tournament is no surprise considering the amount of international exposure offered by the nation’s top-tier hockey clubs, who play in the NHL and the opportunity for its players to ply their trade in the United States. The Canadian men’s hockey team alone is responsible for the vast majority of the sport’s growth across North America, with the country producing more than 200 alumni who’ve played at the professional level. The development of hockey in Canada and the resulting success of the nation’s top teams is a major reason for the country’s dominance in the tournament.

The number of players from China is also on the rise, with the country’s top teams, including the Chengdu Snipers, producing several NHL and NHL alumni, as mentioned above. Like many other sports, hockey is one of the most popular sports in China and, as a result, there’s a growing contingent of players looking to make the jump to the professional level. The country is also preparing to host the tournament for a fourth consecutive year, with the 2022 edition being played in the city of Jinan, which has a history of hosting successful international tournaments, including the Olympics.

Finally, it’s worth noting that over 40% of the participants this year come from the United Kingdom. The country is home to some of the world’s greatest hockey minds and has been supporting the sport for years, with the nation producing several important figures in the history of hockey. The U.K.’s Team GB pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the World Junior Hockey last year, upsetting the favored Canadians in the semifinal before going on to lose the final.

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