Any Canadian who put money on common sense prevailing to salvage the NHL season is wishing they hadn’t – it appears more and more likely that the league will cancel the season, the second time in eight years an NHL season will be lost. However, hockey fans finally have a national game to look forward to with the launch of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) under-20 World Championship tournament. Canada heads into the match as the top favourite, but the rival Russian and Swedish teams have good odds to upset the Canadians.
There are so many uncertainties in hockey that betting odds are never considered a lock; nevertheless, Canada remains one of the top contenders year after year in the IIHF tournaments. With the ongoing NHL lockout, players that would have been with their teams – such as Ryan Nugent Hopkins with the Edmonton Oilers – are free to join the ranks of Team Canada and faceoff against the world’s greatest upcoming stars. The addition of young NHL players adds extra talent to Canada’s depth, helping to provide the great white north with +125 odds of winning the entire tournament.
However, as the last few years have shown, upsets do happen and the final round of the tournament is a grueling exercise for players giving their all to represent their country. The US and Russia defeated Canada for the gold medal in 2010 and 2011 respectively, while the Canadians failed to make it to the final game in 2012. Canada is hoping this year is a comeback event that puts the nation where hockey is a national pastime back on top in the IIHF.
History remains a haunting shadow for the Canadian team as well as any sports bettors hoping to win a match of their own from the tournament. The rival Russians are chasing the Canadians down the ice with +225 odds to win, while Sweden is right behind them at +325. The US is ranked fourth with +450 odds to become champions, and Finland rounds out the top 5 with +750 odds to win.
Regardless of which team is victorious in the end, hockey fans and gambling enthusiasts should prepare for an exciting round of hockey that could showcase the next generation of superstars.