The 2013 World Junior Championships are upon us, and while it's fun to look forward and debate who will win the Gold medal this year, it's also a good time to look back at the history of the storied tourney as well.
The WJC Under-20 championships were first officially held in 1977, but the games really took on new prominence when TSN acquired the rights in 1991.
So far Russia/Soviet Union/CIS and Canada have dominated the competition, winning 27 of 33 gold medals.
As such, their players litter a list of top-20 competitors in the history of the tourney. Still, teams from the United States, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic continue to improve their hockey programs and thus, the competition at the WJC tournament.
It would be possible to expand this slideshow to 40 or 50 slides if I wanted. It would be easier. So many great players have began their careers in the WJC tourney, and even more flash-in-the-pan types have stolen headlines before fading into history.
Twenty players has proven to be a difficult number. All it takes is a hot streak of six games and whammy, you are a household name for at least a few weeks. Anyone who has played hockey has had or witnessed these random bursts of productivity.
As such, some great performances and players have been left off the list, not as a slight to them and their accomplishments, but because there is just so much outstanding hockey to choose from. This, in my opinion, is never a bad thing.
So make a case for your guys down below. Link me some videos, tell me some stories about the players that I overlooked or got wrong. Share your viewpoint. After all, that is the beauty of the WJC, and a game with the history of hockey in general.
These players are ranked in no particular order. Selecting 20 of them was tough enough, but after a point, the margins are so wire-thin that it becomes pointless to try and name someone No. 3 when they are really No. 1c.
All of these players were spectacular, and all for their own reasons.