Gamblers who put money on Canada winning the World Junior Hockey Championship are disappointed that bet will not pay off, and that disappointment has set in across all of Canada. However, professional hockey players suggest the pressure on the Canadian juniors is too much with the gold-or-bust mentality that is automatically placed in the minds of young players.
The Vancouver Canucks are one of Canada’s most valuable hockey teams, having been the focus of many playoff bets over the last few seasons with impressive chances to win the Stanley Cup. But Canucks forward Manny Malhotra, a Canadian who once played in the World Juniors, says the type of pressure placed on experienced NHL players is unfair to place on young juniors in an international tournament.
“Obviously it’s disappointing not to be playing for gold. But as a nation, we should be proud of those kids and what they’ve accomplished and how well they represented us.”
Teammate and fellow World Junior veteran Dan Hamhuis echoes Malhotra’s statement, saying representing your country internationally is what the tournament is about not pressure to win or ensure sports bettors make money. Hamhuis also says the loss shouldn’t be considered an upset, and that Canada needs to let go of the sense of entitlement to win the gold.
“You see so many competitive countries out there. Canada probably has the most depth of them all, but a lot of the players from the other countries are very good and very competitive.”
The gold medal game will be played against Canada’s arch-rival American cousins and the reigning champion Swedish team. The Vancouver Canucks have players from all competing countries on their team, with team captain Henrik Sedin a Swede himself – Sedin loves to place bets with his teammates on the World Juniors tournament every year.
Canada will face Russia for the bronze medal match, a rematch from the preliminary round in which Canada skated circles around the Russians – sports bettors may want to hold onto some faith in the young Canadians for the final round.