It was announced on December 12th that nineteen-year-old Kaiden Guhle will represent Team Canada as its captain for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The teenager is currently playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League. Guhle was traded to the Oil Kings by the Prince Albert Raiders on the very same day he was offered a spot in the Canadian junior hockey team’s selection process. The defenceman is now captaining Team Canada in the World Junior Championship.
He would go on to describe it all as “A little bit of a crazy day”. Perhaps a little bit of an understatement from the Alberta, Canada hometown hero who’s looking forward to lighting up his home rink, this time with spectators. The COVID pandemic has obviously restricted much of the sport’s usual activities. The last time Guhle played his hometown, those restrictions prevented anyone from watching the game itself.
That excitement may have been premature, however, with the announcement on December 21st that the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship would be reducing fan capacity to just 50%. This has caused no small amount of outrage amongst fans desperate to get back to watching their favourite sport live.
Several fans have already purchased tickets to the events – some of them have purchased packages to watch multiple games. With the reduced fan capacity, some of those people are going to miss out, and they won’t be able to enjoy the excitement of a packed stadium just yet. Nobody knows when these restrictions may end – they could continue well into 2022.
Inevitably, some of these package holders are going to be getting refunds, but many have already purchased hotels and long flights just to watch the events, and getting refunds on those elements of travel might not be as easy. Whether or not Hockey Canada’s decision was necessary or not is beyond the scope of this article, but we can say for sure that there are many disappointed fans as a result.
This is following a rash of cancellations in the rise of the Omicron variant. All eleven pre-tournament games for the season were cancelled. The IIHF limited all their competing teams to one game starting from Thursday instead of December 19th. The tournament is still scheduled to go ahead as planned, but everything could change for Guhle and the rest of Team Canada in the next few days.
Guhle was selected – along with the rest of Canada’s Junior team – via a four-day selection camp. He’ll be representing his country alongside Jake Neighbours and Cole Perfetti as alternate captains. Guhle was a heavy favourite to make the Canada team. He’s six foot three, 203 pounds and made it into an NHL training camp with the Canadiens this year.
Before taking part in the selection camp for Team Canada, Guhle managed to play three games for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He scored a game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Ice the night before he went to the camp. He is a talent in demand, and a rising star that could carry Team Canada to gold medals all around.
It’s easy to see why Guhle has earned so many opportunities thus far, and the nineteen-year old’s future is insanely bright. If he performs as well in the World Junior Championship as he has been so far, who knows where his career could take him?
“It is an honour any time you have the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf, and it is even more special to be able to do it on home ice close to where I grew up.To be selected as captain for the World Juniors in Edmonton and Red Deer is something I take a lot of pride in, and I look forward to competing alongside my teammates as we look to achieve our goal of winning a gold medal.” Guhle said of the announcement.
The total twenty-five player roster was announced on December 12th. Some of Guhle’s teammates from the Oil Kings have made the cut too – Jake Neighbours, as mentioned above, made it as alternate captain. So has goaltender Sebastian Cossa, and at six foot six/209 pounds it’s easy to see why.
Alongside Cossa we have Brett Brochu and Dylan Garand. All three goaltenders have really strong records and a competitive edge that should see Team Canada bringing some fierce defence to their games. These young stars are surely training hard even throughout the festive season, with preliminary games commencing in a matter of days.
You can check the Canada NHL predictions at Ontario online sportsbooks if you want to see how good the team looks in terms of statistics. Given just how stacked the roster is, you can bet they’re looking pretty good.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship actually kicks off this year on Boxing Day with a match against Czechia. The team will go on to play Austria on December 28th, Germany on the 29th, and Finland on December 31st. That’ll be a wrap for all the preliminary action, and further scheduling will be decided based on the results of those games.
Of course, this could all be subject to change as mentioned above. As a young man and player, we could argue that most of Guhle’s hockey career has been defined by COVID and the restrictions that come with it. It must be an exceptionally strange time to be a junior athlete, but the determination and competitive nature of these young men will prevail in the end.
If you want to keep up with the World Junior Championship, networks TSN and RDS are acting as official broadcast partners and will be carrying thorough game coverage and extensive analysis throughout the Championship. They’ll broadcast all thirty one tournament games. TSN Radio will also keep listeners up to date with in-depth coverage.
For more information on Hockey Canada and the full team roster for the World Junior Championship, check out their website at hockeycanada.ca. You can also stay up to date with Hockey Canada on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.