International Ice Hockey Federation

Power of the future

Power of the future

U18 Worlds heads to Central Switzerland

Published 09.10.2014 10:06 GMT+2 | Author Adam Steiss
Power of the future
Swiss defenceman Jonas Siegenthaler (right, against Czech player Vaclav Karabacek) will be among the future stars to watch at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Zug and Lucerne. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images
The 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship heads to one of Europe’s hockey hotbeds, the Alpine nation of Switzerland.

Next April, hockey fans around the world will have a chance to watch the sport’s future stars compete in the beautiful Swiss cities of Zug and Lucerne.

For a long time, the U18 Worlds have been the domain of the United States, with Team USA enjoying a run of dominance that was extended last year to a grand total of eight gold medals in the 16-year history of the tournament.

But the States hit a bump in their opening game in 2014, falling 4-2 to an upstart Swiss team that despite a seventh-place finish was one of the better teams in the tournament. While the U18 national team will miss top-scorer Kevin Fiala in 2015, promising prospects such as Denis Malgin (seven points in five games at the 2014 tournament) on offence and Jonas Siegenthaler on the blue line will be counted on to lead their country on home ice.

Canada will as usual ice a strong squad in 2015, and Russia with three gold medals in this tournament figures to be a factor as well. But if there is any team that should be taken seriously in 2015, it would be the Czech Republic. This country with a once-maligned junior program has recovered in impressive fashion, seizing its first-ever U18 silver medal last year with exceptional play from forwards David Kase, Michael Spacek, and Jakub Vrana. This past summer, the Czechs dispersed any notion that 2014 was a fluke with an 11-2 drubbing of the Russians.

Click here to see the 2014 results and standings.

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The Czechs will compete in Group B in Zug, against the likes of Canada, Finland, Latvia, and the host Swiss. Group A in Lucerne could be described as top-heavy, beginning with the defending champions United States, Russia, and Sweden, who altogether have won the most number of medals at this tournament. Slovakia and Germany will round out the group, which will compete in the preliminary round at Arena Lucerne.

The tournament opens with a Group A matchup between Sweden and Slovakia and later on a heavyweight battle between USA and Russia. Group B will see Canada take on Latvia and Finland face the Czech Republic, while the Swiss open on home ice April 17th against the Finns.

Click here to see the tournament schedule.

This tournament has been a stepping stone for future hockey stars in the NHL and Europe. Big names like Alexander Ovechkin, Carey Price, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, and most recently Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, have all competed in the U18 Worlds. Who will be the next big star to emerge in Switzerland 2015?

Both the teams and fans will get to enjoy some of the best scenery that Central Switzerland has to offer. Both Zug and Lucerne are beautiful cities located next to lakes and right on the doorstep of the Swiss Alps. Zug’s arena is typically rocking when the hometown team EV Zug competes in the Swiss National League A, and will host the semi-finals and medal games in addition to the Group B preliminary round.

Lucerne, aside from being a postcard-perfect Swiss city, has been a top tourist destination for many years. Along with the charms of the Old Town and the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), Lucerne offers beautiful views of the Alps and many hiking and skiing opportunities nearby.

So for all junior hockey fans, see you in Switzerland!


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