FN’s Holiday Week Hockey Guide

The holiday season is a magic one for many reasons. In addition to being able to have time to spend with our loved ones, there happens to be an absolute ton of ice hockey to watch during the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

To provide a glimpse at the riches provided by the hockey world at the holiday season, here is a brief rundown of what’s happening around town (and elsewhere) on the ice.

BOXING DAY

  • World Juniors: Sweden vs. Switzerland (7am, TSN4)
    The powerhouse Swedes and Flames prospect Adam Ollas Mattsson kick off their tournament against Switzerland, who have Timo Meier and not much else.
  • World Juniors: Canada vs. United States (11am, TSN)
    The Canadians have two Flames prospects on their team (Mason McDonald and Brandon Hickey), and a big test to start off their tournament in the form of the Americans.
  • The Mac’s Midget Tournament begins
    The biggest midget tournament in the world kicks off at Max Bell, with 25 male and 15 female teams vying for the crowns. Last year’s male champions (the Cariboo Cougars) are back, but there will be a new female champion as last year’s female champions (the Saskatoon Stars) aren’t back this year. Check the Mac’s tournament site for a full schedule. If you just go to Max Bell or Father David Bauer without a particular focus, you’ll find yourself a few good games each day. It’s a good chance to see raw youngsters before they’re stars – players such Mikael Backlund and Jarome Iginla cut their teeth in the Mac’s tournament before becoming junior stars.

DECEMBER 27

  • Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers (7pm, Saddledome, Sportsnet West)
    The Battle of Alberta! And the Flames can set the franchise consecutive wins record with a victory! And there are playoff implications! Possibly one of the most interesting Calgary/Edmonton on-ice battles in years, and that’s without the presence of Connor McDavid.
  • The Mac’s Midget Tournament continues!

DECEMBER 28

  • World Juniors: Sweden vs. United States (7am, TSN)
    Can America’s goalies and defenders fend off the Brothers Nylander?
  • World Juniors: Canada vs. Denmark (11am, TSN)
    Canada faces their least-crucial opponent of the round robin in the form of Denmark, a team with zero NHL-drafted players.
  • Calgary Hitmen vs. Kootenay Ice (7pm, Saddledome)
    The Hitmen return from Christmas break and begin the second half of the season the way they began the first half: with a home game against Kootenay. (Kootenay sucks!) Anyway, the Hitmen are a young bunch full of energy and could be dangerous in their division and conference this season.
  • The Mac’s Midget Tournament continues!

    DECEMBER 29

    • World Juniors: Canada vs. Switzerland (11am, TSN)
      Is the presence of Timo Meier enough to keep the Swiss in this game, or will the Canadians roll over them? Probably the latter, but you never know.
    • Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks (7pm, Saddledome, Sportsnet West)
      The Flames welcome the Ducks to town for the first time since facing them in the post-season last spring. The Ducks have been horrible this season and a bad road trip for them could spell the end for coach Bruce Boudreau and potentially their playoff hopes.
    • The Mac’s Midget Tournament continues!

      DECEMBER 30

      • World Juniors: Sweden vs. Denmark (7am, TSN)
        Sweden faces a really thin Danish team in a game that should in all rights be an absolute bloodbath.
      • Calgary Hitmen vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes (7pm, Saddledome)
        The Hurricanes ended the first half of the WHL schedule in first place in the Eastern Conference, surprising a lot of junior hockey fans. The Hitmen can reel Lethbridge in with a win.
      • The Mac’s Midget Tournament continues!

      DECEMBER 31

      • Mac’s Tournament Male Quarterfinals (9am & noon; Max Bell Center and Father David Bauer Arena)
      • World Juniors: Canada vs. Sweden (11am, TSN)
        Flames prospects clash! Oh, and it’s probably a bout between the tournament’s two best teams with medal implications.
      • Mac’s Tournament Female Semi-Finals (1pm & 4pm, Max Bell Centre, streamed on Mac’s tournament site)
      • Mac’s Tournament Male Semi-Finals (3pm & 6pm, Max Bell Centre, streamed on Mac’s tournament site)
      • Calgary Flames vs. Los Angeles Kings (7pm, Saddledome, Sportsnet 360/Sportsnet One)
        The Flames won the season series with the Kings last year, and that decided the playoff hopes of both clubs. Expect this to be a measuring-stick game for both sides, as both groups probably feel they have something to prove.

      JANUARY 1

      • Mac’s Tournament Female Final (noon, Saddledome, Shaw TV)
        The female tournament culminates with a champion crowned!
      • Mac’s Tournament Male Final (4pm, Saddledome, Shaw TV)
        The male tournament culminates with a champion crowned!
      • Canrock 78

        Thanks for the guide.

        We have 3 players in the world juniors. Should we happy with our scouting?Obviously the Hamilton trade made a difference last year.

        Happy holidays everyone may you cup be half full in 2016.

        The hockey writers has a cheat sheet.

          • KiLLKiND

            Personally I’m still really surprised neither Andersson or Kylington were even invited to Sweden’s camp. Hopefully that just means Mattson is actually a lot better than we thought and we just haven’t heard as much about him. This tournament will be really nice as this will be the 1st time I’ll be able to watch him play.

            As for Mangiapane how could we be disappointed with that pick, I would have been totally fine if we got him in the 5th or even 4th round. Bennett though….. haha I’m joking if the Canucks thought they were being nice by lending Virtanen (who shouldn’t be playing in the NHL at all this year) imagine Canada with Bennett.

            also thanks for the guide it is pretty helpful. and on the topic of the Hitmen what have people who have seen them play thought of Karnaukhov?

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Where are all the Mason McDonald lovers out there?
        (Wasted pick right from the start).

        Hickey was good in the first 2 but was terrible in the third.

        WW

        • Burnward

          The kid looks like he has a slightly weak blocker but other than that, he is quite solid.

          Good attitude, good positionally, and he gave his team a chance to win. The last goal was a bit weak, I thought, but it was the second deflection off a teammate’s stick to get by him and that is not on him. The second goal was a seeing eye shot through a screen over his blocker that might have been saved by a stronger blocker, but that’s it.

          That loss was not on him.

        • cberg

          WW, I guess you were sleeping in the third. Two bounces off Canada D that MacDonald had full control of, and a double screen on the PP.. Yeah, wasted pick…. Right. MacDonald played a very strong game.

      • RedMan

        Sometimes you lose. that’s how it works.

        Both Flames prospects looked good overall, with a couple brain cramps thrown in – not unexpected or surprising given their ages. And they definitely looked better than the thousands of kids who didn’t get invited to play at this awesome level.

        Man i love world-juniors, great, fun hockey for the most part, not quite as over-coached as the NHL, lots of speed, and skill galore.

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