Hockey Canada

Thirty Years Of Going For Gold At The World Juniors

Publisher: Penguin Canada
Whenever Team Canada skates onto the ice at the World Junior Hockey Championship, they expect to win. They may not always be the favourite. They may not always come out on top. But when those players pull on the iconic red-and-white sweaters, they know they’re putting the whole country’s expectations on their young shoulders. They don’t just hope to win—they insist on it.

This wasn’t always the case, though. After the team had a disappointing performance in 1981, officials from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (the forerunner of Hockey Canada) decided enough was enough. They drew up plans for a Program of Excellence, an initiative that would send the best possible team to the world juniors and aid the development of players who would represent the country in international play down the line.

It’s no overstatement to say they achieved what they set out to do and much, much more. In 1982, the program’s first year, the Canadians came home from Minnesota with a gold medal. Over its thirty-year history, Team Canada has won gold fifteen times, effectively becoming the team all others are measured against.

With accounts from those who witnessed and competed in the World Junior Hockey Championships since 1982, Thirty Years of the Game at Its Best takes readers year by year through what must be considered the most successful program in the history of Canadian sports.