Hodgemail: 'What do you like most or least about the WJHC?' Staff

1/7/2010 12:47:30 AM

The end result wasn't what hockey fans north of the 49th parallel wanted to see - Canada losing the gold medal game to the United States at the world junior hockey championship.

But the drama that unfolded throughout the tournament was everything one could ask for.

Once again, the 33-year-old tournament didn't disappoint fans, offering everything from the expected to the unexpected. From the performance of Swiss netminder Benjamin Conz against the Russians to the dramatic shootout in the New Year's Day classic between Canada and the United States, the tournament had something for everyone to enjoy.

On the other hand, it could be argued that the World Juniors has some things to improve on.

Watching the more 'established' hockey nations score blowout victories over weaker (and soon to be relegated) teams has sparked some debate on whether the IIHF should pare down the number of participating clubs. There have also been arguments that it's a tournament that has, for the most part, 'belonged' to Canada on and off the ice.

So here was Dave's question to you: "What do you like most, or least, about the World Junior Championship?"

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

''There's something wrong when Canada doesn't play Russia... or Sweden, or Finland, or the Czech Republic.'' - Jeff, Calgary

''I think the gold medal final should be a two-game, total-goals affair. That would bring even more excitement to the tournament.'' - Bruce, Mission, BC

''What I like most is watching the world's best play solely for their love of the game and their country, and not for a big paycheck... not yet, anyway.'' - Will, Montreal

''I find it distasteful when particular players are booed or taunted, as happened to USA goalie Jack Campbell. He's a 17-year-old kid! It's not necessary.'' - Mark, Ottawa

''We saw incredible hockey... fast, skilled, highly entertaining and incredibly... not a single fight!'' - Thomas, Toronto

Why would you want to change anything? The World Juniors is great as it is. Sure beats the NHL for excitement, dedication to the game of hockey and great for our kids and all of those involved. - Doug, Fergus, ON

The good games - like the gold medal game - are incredible. The bad games - 16-0 debacle over Latvia - are horrible. I wish there was more parity. - Dwight, Mount Uniacke, NS

Relegation teams like Latvia and Austria should be left out - they come all the way across the world just to be embarrassed.  Condense the pools into two, with each pool featuring three of the most talented teams. - Adam, Saskatoon, SK

The best part is getting a chance to watch NHL-drafted players. We read and hear so much about these kids through the media but that is really just someone's opinion. In the World Juniors, you can watch and draw your own conclusions. - Jared, Guelph, ON

Watching Jordan Eberle consistently come up with bigger and better performances than his last. - Matt, Gravenhurst, ON

And Dave's Reply To All:

Well, for me, the best is obvious - games like New Year's Eve and Tuesday night - games you really can't see anywhere else. But - and get ready to hear this again at the Olympics - the world junior hockey championship includes too many teams that are not competitive.

Oh, you've heard that before?

So maybe you'll agree that the tournament needs fewer teams, or better teams - and I'm all for the latter idea - with a twist. Drop the two relegated teams and replace them with "B" teams from the gold and silver-medal-winning nations. How much better would next year's tournament in Buffalo be if there were teams labeled USA1 and USA2 and Canada1 and Canada2? The two extra teams would be capable of winning games, or even medals. More Canada-USA games would be great. A Canada-Canada game would be interesting. What I like least about the world junior is that it's not about to happen.