Photo: Hershey Bears forward and Washington Capitals prospect Nathan Walker (#79) is the first NHL-drafted player from the country of Australia (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon Sportswire)
Hockey is predominantly popular in the colder, northern climates of the world. However, the fastest game on earth knows no bounds. It’s not just played by the kids in Toronto, Minneapolis, or Stockholm anymore–hockey players are coming from all over. Read more»
Photo: HPK Hameenlinna goaltender and Nashville Predators prospect Juuse Saros turned in a stellar performance at the 2014 World Junior Championship, helping to lead Finland to their first gold medal at the U20 WJC since 1998 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
No country has had as much success developing goaltenders in recent years as Finland.
But with 14 Finland-trained goalies playing in North America and another nine playing in Europe in either the KHL or in Sweden's SHL, the number of drafted prospects playing in Finland's Liiga has dwindled to just five.
Photo: Team Norway forward Martin Ronnild and his teammates, will attempt to complete what would be an upset win over Germany in the relegation round of the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)
Two games haven't decided the fate of the two relegation round combatants at the 2014 World Junior Championship, so Germany and Norway will play one more to decide which team will compete at the 2015 WJC next year in Canada.
Photo: Sudbury Wolves forward Dominik Kahun will be a key performer in Germany’s relegation round series against Norway at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Terry Wilson / OHL Images)
With the preliminary round now in the books, eight of the 10 teams taking part in the 2014 World Junior Championship can look forward to battling it out for medals beginning with the four quarterfinals matches on Thursday. But the other two teams on the outside looking in, Germany and Norway, are in the more precarious position of having to qualify for next year's top level of the WJC.
Photo: The host country for the 2014 World Junior Championship, Sweden, has performed well so far at this WJC, going undefeated in three games including a 5-3 win over Switzerland on opening night (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
It has been an interesting 2014 World Junior Championship so far, with one major upset plus a fair amont of offense being generated, albeit with a couple of teams proving to be far more generous than most of the field competing in Malmo, Sweden.