Photo: Quebec Remparts forward Nick Sorensen just returned to his QMJHL club after competing for silver medalist Sweden at the 2013 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The plight of a junior hockey franchise is normally cyclic, with a core group of players starting out, maturing together and competing before eventually graduating from the league.
Photo: Team Canada forward and Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau had a productive 2013 WJC, but it was not enough to keep Canada's medal-winning streak alive (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
Despite the high-scoring bronze medal loss to Russia at the 2013 World Junior Championship, Team Canada's forwards in general were not as productive a group as they were expected to be at this WJC.
Photo: Quebec Remparts forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko played a major role in helping Russia advance to the semi-finals of the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
After winning gold and silver at the last two World Junior Championships, 2013 host country Russia find themselves in a position to bring home another medal, possibly gold, in front of a home crowd.
Photo: Highly-rated 2013 prospect Aleksander Barkov of Finland has roots in the country that is hosting the 2013 World Junior Championship, Russia (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Team Sweden is sporting the best power-play, coming in at 35.71%, while the USA tops penalty killing units at 88.24%. Interestingly enough, no team has been on the power-play more than Sweden and only Russia has been shorthanded less than the USA.
Photo: Although Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has generated a bit of offense for Russia at the 2013 WJC, he has not been the offensive force he will need to be if Russia is to take the gold medal (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For hockey fans across the globe, the preliminary round of the 2013 IIHF WJC has been just about everything anyone had ever hoped for. There’s been no lack of tension, rivalries, intrigue and background stories that have come together to make this tournament the type that fans everywhere crave.