After suffering an upset loss in the second game of the preliminary round at the 2014 World Junior Championship, Team Canada won the final two games of that round to take the top seeding in Group A. That top seeding has led the team to a date in the quarterfinals with Switzerland.
Traditionally, Switzerland holds their World Junior Championship preliminary camp in the snowy ski resort of Lenzerheide. But before this year's camp began, the Swiss took a major blow as their first-line center and Minnesota Wild draft choice Christoph Bertschy was injured during a National League A game with SC Bern. Not only is Bertschy an experienced player of two WJC's, but he would have served as team captain if he had remained healthy.
Luca Sbisa, Nino Niederreiter, Sven Baertschi, Mirco Mueller. Since 2008, Switzerland has had more success in the first round of the NHL Draft than Slovakia or the Czech Republic, the two countries that hosted the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and two of the hockey nations generally regarded as being stronger than Switzerland. If this trend continues, the Swiss may well surpass those two nations.
It has been a strong season for Swiss hockey. Not only did they reach the quarterfinals at both the junior and senior levels, but they even managed, for the first time in almost a century, to be the runner-up for the senior World Championship title. But this recent and unexpected success does not mean that everything in the junior development system is rosy, and that Switzerland will produce NHL-caliber prospects for the next decade.