With the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, Team Germany is returning to hockey’s belle étage after a one year sojourn to the Division 1, Group A tournament, which Germany hosted in December of 2011 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The German WJC entry for the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships held in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY included one of the best assortments of young hockey players the country had put together in quite some time, including NHL draft picks Philipp Grubauer (WAS), Konrad Abeltshauser (SJS), Tom Kuhnhackl (PIT), Marcel Noebels (PHI), Tobias Rieder (EDM) and Mirko Hoefflin (CHI).
German hockey has produced very few NHL Draft prospects directly, although some players have been selected after apprenticing in the CHL leagues. This year is likely no different for that country, with only a trio of prospects having any real chance of being chosen in the 2012 NHL Draft.
A 2006 draftee of the Carolina Hurricanes, restricted free agent Justin Krueger just completed his first full year in the AHL after 4 years at Cornell and a season in the Swiss NLA. The 6’3”, 205-pound defensive defenseman put up mild offensive totals, but did manage to collect a plus 16 rating in 58 games while playing for the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
The IIHF 2012 U18 Tournament taking place in Brno, Znojmo and now Breclav, Czech Republic, kicked off yesterday. The tournament goals of northern neighbors Germany and Denmark are officially different, but on paper quite the same; somehow surprise in the uphill battle of the initial round or then avoid relegation at all costs in the relegation round. This will be no easy task for either team.