International Ice Hockey Federation

Buffalo 2011

Buffalo 2011

Last U20 here produced many stars

Published 15.08.2018 01:05 GMT-4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Buffalo 2011
When Buffalo first hosted the World Juniors in 2011, Russia shocked Canada in the gold medal game with a 5-3 comeback win. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
It was seven years ago that the World Juniors were last in Buffalo, but that was a special tournament in many ways for many players.

Here’s a look back at what happened and to whom.


Tournament—Canada advanced to the gold-medal game and seemed to have another championship won. Leading 3-0 after two periods, the Canadians were dominating—and then they inexplicably collapsed. Russia rallied, taking gold with a shocking 5-3 win.

Players—Several players from that team have gone on to fine NHL careers, notably Sean Couturier (gold 2015 WM, 2016 World Cup championship), Ryan Ellis (gold at 2016 WM), and Brayden Schenn (gold 2015 WM)


Tournament—In 2011 the relegation round consisted of four teams, the bottom two from each group. The Czechs were among that number, finishing on top (7th place overall).

Players—Ondrej Palat later played at the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup and is now a key member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, top team in the NHL. Martin Frk has perhaps the hardest shot in the game after Shea Weber and is a star with Detroit


Tournament—The Finns had a good round robin, winning three of four games, but then lost to Russia in overtime in the quarter-finals. They had a 3-1 lead in the third but gave up two late goals, another shocking turn of events.

Players—Olli Maatta is a star defenceman with Pittsburgh now and also played at the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup. Teemu Pulkkinen won silver at the 2016 World Championship, and Sami Vatanen and Joonas Donskoi are also established NHLers.


Tournament—After a winless preliminary round, the Germans also went winless in the relegation round and were relegated.

Players—Tom Kuhnhackl, son of Erich, has gone on to play in the NHL, with Pittsburgh. Now in his third year with the Penguins, he has developed into a steady winger who plays about ten minutes a game.


Tournament—Also winless in the round robin, Norway avoided relegation by beating Germany, 3-1, in the last game of the tournament. 

Players—Goaltender Lars Volden has gone on to become the country’s number-one goalie. He has played in four World Championships as well as the 2014 Olympics. Mats Rosseli Olsen and Sondre Olden have also become mainstays on the national team.


Tournament—“Team Comeback” trailed in each of the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals, winning every game en route to a stunning gold.

Players—Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the top players in the NHL now, with St. Louis, as is Yevgeni Kuznetsov with Washington and Artemi Panarin with Columbus. Panarin had two goals in that wild comeback against Canada and Kuznetsov had three assists. Tarasenko had a goal and an assist. In short, that comeback was no fluke.


Tournament—The Slovaks ended in the relegation round but won two of three games to stay up for 2012.

Players—Martin Marincin is just now making his way into the lineup of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Richard Panik has been in the NHL since 2012, with Tampa Bay, Toronto, and now Chicago. And, Tomas Jurco has been a regular with the national team ever since.


Tournament—The ever-consistent Swedes lost to Russia in the semis and then to the U.S. in the bronze-medal game.

Players—Although time has shown this wasn’t a first-rate roster in the long run, there were a few notables to develop. Gabriel Landeskog became one of the youngest captains in NHL history, with Colorado, and Adam Larsson and John Klingberg have also become stars in the NHL. 


Tournament—The Swiss lost to Canada, 4-1, in the quarter-finals and finished a solid 5th.

Players—The top of this class was Nino Niederreiter, who is probably the best Swiss player in the NHL today. He also played for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup and was a key contributor to the nation’s miracle run at the 2013 World Championship, winning silver. 


Tournament—The hosts were upended by Canada, 4-1, in the semi-finals but rallied to beat Sweden, 4-2, to claim bronze.

Players—Jason Zucker has turned into a fine player with the Minnesota Wild, and defenceman Jon Merrill is having a wild ride in Vegas with a team that has stunned everyone. Kyle Palmieri has played in the NHL ever since that U20, first with Anaheim and now New Jersey. As well, Nick Bjugstad has played with Florida since 2012. 


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