The Cord on Sports: World Juniors more than Canada’s tournament

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist).

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist).

People say Canada is the only country that cares about the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Hockey Championships — a tournament that takes the nation by storm every holiday season

As much as I am a strong, proud, enthusiastic Canadian, I beg to differ.

Last year the tournament was in North America. Waking up was not an issue for us Canadians, as most of the games were at, y’know, “normal” times. However, Canada also didn’t make the gold medal game.

TSN’s Gord Miller tweeted earlier this week saying there were a couple myths that needed to be cleared up when it came to the World Juniors. The one he emphasized was the commonly held belief that Canada is the only country that cares about the tournament.

In a continued tweet, he said, “…tell that to the 600,000 Swedes who watched last year’s gold medal game starting at 2 a.m. their time, and the 6,000 who welcomed them home.”

Sweden deserved to win last year. Sweden played phenomenal. Sweden also went absolutely nuts when they won their gold medal game.

Just because they’re not wearing the red and white, does that mean they don’t care?

Absolutely not.

You can also look at the Russians. This will be the third time the World Juniors have been in Russia since the tournament’s official birth in 1977 — with one additional tournament being held in the USSR. The emphasis on their culture in the games already has been outstanding and it only continues to grow as the organization develops.

Russia has also won almost as many medals as Canada. Does that mean they don’t care, either?

I don’t disagree that the Canadian culture lives and breathes hockey. It’s something that has been a big part of even my life before I could stand on two legs.

But just because a large portion of the Canadian population is getting up this year for 4:30 a.m. games doesn’t mean that there aren’t countries overseas that have been doing it for the last four years.

And while I write this waiting for another 4:30 a.m. game to begin, I am dedicated to my country.

But I can also respect that while I am sitting here waiting to cheer on the young, up-and-coming talents of this land, there are nine other countries doing the exact same thing.

Don’t say that Canada is the only country that cares about the World Juniors. The emphasis on this tournament is far greater in other countries than Canadians can ever fathom.

Cheer, enjoy, encourage. But don’t degrade the countries that for the first time in four years don’t have to try to get up at 4:30 a.m..

They’ve been doing it long enough.

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