The Prince Albert Raiders have struggled to make the playoffs for the last several years, despite the best efforts of players like current team leader and first-round NHL draft pick, Mark McNeil (CHI). Enter Leon Draisaitl, a German-born WHL rookie and 2014 draft-eligible forward who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in his rookie season. Draisaitl and McNeil combined for 125 points and led the Raiders to their first post-season appearance in almost a decade.
Coming into the 2013 World Junior Championship, Team Germany’s head coach Ernst Hofner went about his preparatory business knowing right from the beginning that his country was fighting to avoid relegation, that an appearance in the relegation round was just short of pre-programmed, and that Germany would be using the preliminary round to prepare for what would likely come down to a game between Germany and – should there be no surprises – Latvia. This may have been the forecast made by most beforehand, and it was exactly how things ended up.
For the German squad competing at the 2013 World Junior Championship, the main goal wasn't winning gold but instead simply avoiding relegation to next year's Division 1 WJC. Germany accomplished this goal, barely, defeating Lativa 5-2, marking the first time in 15 years that the Germans stayed in the top group in consecutive tournaments.
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