The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.
Canada’s entry at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship is regarded by many as the best team in tournament history. The Canadians went undefeated (6-0) while outscoring opponents 41-7, with their closest game being a 3-1 semifinal victory over the Czech Republic.
Those accolades alone are enough to put the ’05 squad in the running for “Best Team Ever.” But when you look at the roster, it seals the deal.
On Defense: Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Dion Phaneuf, Braydon Coburn, Cam Barker, Shawn Belle, Danny Syvret.
At Forward: Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ladd, Clarke MacArthur, Colin Fraser, Anthony Stewart, Nigel Dawes, Jeremy Colliton, Stephen Dixon.
In Goal: Jeff Glass, Rejean Beauchemin (hey, can’t win ’em all.)
Now do keep in mind that, because of the lockout, this team was unusually stacked. Chances are one-third (or even half) of Canada’s roster could’ve been playing in the NHL and unavailable for tournament selection.
But that also applied for other countries as well.
Team Russia, who lost 6-1 to Canada in the final, boasted a lineup with Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Alexei Emelin and Alexander Radulov. The bronze medal-winning Czechs had David Krejci, Roman Polak, Ladislav Smid, Michael Frolik and Rostislav Olesz. The fourth-place Americans had Phil Kessel, Ryan Suter, Ryan Callahan, Drew Stafford, Cory Schneider, Alex Goligoski, Matt Hunwick and Kevin Porter.
Needless to say, it was a good tournament. (Fun fact: The lower-tier Division I tournament featured a Slovenian team led by Anze Kopitar.) But Canada was clearly the class team.
Interesting to note the amount of Stanley Cup experience from players that were junior-eligible just six years ago. Ladd (the most decorated winner, with two), Seabrook, Crosby, Bergeron and Fraser all won while Coburn, Richards and Carter lost in the final.