The 2019 World Junior Championship kicks off today in Vancouver and Victoria. The Calgary Flames are well-represented in this year’s event, with four prospects suiting up in pursuit of a gold medal. The Flames organization has had a ton of representation at the event in recent years.
The Flames send a lot of prospects
If you look at the last few World Juniors, basically every one since Brad Treliving took over as general manager, it shows that the Flames have consistently been sending a lot of prospects to the event.
- 2015: Rushan Rafikov captured silver with Russia.
- 2016: Nobody won medals, but Adam Ollas Mattsson played for Sweden while Mason McDonald and Brandon Hickey played for Canada.
- 2017: Oliver Kylington went home empty-handed with Sweden, but everyone else got medals: Pavel Karnaukhov (bronze) with Russia, Dillon Dube (silver) with Canada and Tyler Parsons and Adam Fox (gold) with the United States. The final game between Canada and the USA was a banger.
- 2018: The Flames had representation in half the tournament (five of 10 teams), with Finland’s Juuso Valimaki and Eetu Tuulola and Slovakia’s Adam Ruzicka going home without medals. But Canada’s Dube avenged the prior year’s loss and captured gold, while Linus Lindstrom (Sweden) captured silver and Fox (USA) captured bronze.
This year’s event features four Flames prospects – Filip Sveningsson, Milos Roman, Martin Pospisil and Ruzicka – spread across two countries (Sweden and Slovakia), but that’s pretty typical for the Treliving era.
Several Flames have World Junior ties
The World Juniors are always a fun time in the Flames locker room, as there are a lot of players with ties to the participating countries. Tons of friendly rivalries spring up during the annual event.
Despite having a lot of Canadians on their roster, the two largest World Junior contingents in the locker room are the Americans and the Swedes. Four players played on Team USA at the World Juniors: Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin, Johnny Gaudreau and Austin Czarnik. Three represented the Tre Kronor: Kylington, Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund.
Four other Flames have been to the World Juniors: Michael Frolik played in three with the Czech Republic, Travis Hamonic and James Neal went to one each with Canada, while Valimaki has played in a pair for Finland.