World Cup

Junior Club World Cup 2015

2015 Junior Club World Cup will kick off on August 24th. The tournament is going to take place in three Sverdlovsk Region towns – Yekaterinburg, Verkhnyaya Pyshma and Nizhny Tagil.

This decision was announced this Wednesday, December 10th, at the meeting dedicated to sports development in Russian Federation, held by Russian Ministry of Sports.

The list of competing teams is set. The tournament is going to feature teams from Russia, USA, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Finland, Sweden and Belarus.

Here’s a closer look at the competing teams.

1. Avto (Yekaterinburg, Russia). Host team has been an MHL member since the league’s inception and developed a lot of players who have done well in professional hockey. Among them Ak Bars forward Fedor Malykhin and Avtomobilist forward Anatoly Golyshev. The team went through drastic roster changes last season and rejuvenated – a lot of 16 and 17-year-old players got on the team – which led to problems in the regular season, as the team had a hard time finding their game. Everything changed after the New Year’s break when Avto won 10 consecutive games. In the playoffs Avto fought till the end with more experienced Mamonty Yugry but lost the series in five games and got eliminated in the first round. 


2. Chicago Steel (Chicago, IL, USA). The team has a very young roster. Average age of Chicago players is just 18,8. Last year the Chicago Steel had the most high-scoring regular season in the last seven years as they scored 199 goals but didn’t make the playoffs. Recently Chicago Steel forward Ryan Blankmeier received an award as USHL Scholar-Athlete Award (USHL is the league the Chicago Steel plays in). This past summer Blankmeier was one of the best scholars not only in his state but also in the country – he was one of the finalists for a prestige national award. It is already known that Blankmeier will continue his studies in the Ivy League as he got accepted to Dartmouth College and he’s going to play for local hockey team. However, next season he’s going to begin as a Chicago Steel member.


3. HK Riga (Riga, Latvia). Much as Avto, Riga got eliminated in the first round of the 2015 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs. Latvian team lost to more experienced Almaz Cherepovets. 17-year-old defenceman Kristaps Zile is considered one of the leaders of the Latvians. Last season he performed one of the most effective body checks of the year – the footage of the hit got over 200,000 views on YouTube. One of the most prominent Riga alumni are forward Miks Indrasis, who plays for Dinamo Riga and Team Latvia and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, who made a name for himself with a stellar performance in the game against Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. By the way, Gudlevskis represented HK Riga at the Junior Club World Cup a few years ago.

4. Snezhnye Barsy (Astana, Kazakhstan). Astana team also got eliminated in the first round of last season’s Kharlamov Cup playoffs but they do a good job developing players for Barys. Barsy’s top-player Nikita Mikhailis was a regular in the KHL last year playing for Barys. Last May Snezhnye Barsy also made the headlines but for a totally hockey-unrelated reason as their captain Alexei Kolpakov saved a local girl from drowning in Irtysh river when he was on vacation in his hometown of Ust-Kamenogorsk.


5. Chayka (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia). Nizhny Novgorod won their first Kharlamov Cup last season as they dominated in the final series against SKA-1946 St. Petersburg. Look no further for proof than Game 1 of the series that Chayka won 8-0. Chayka have a lot of great players on their roster who already have KHL and VHL experience. Among them forwards Denis Shurakov, Daniil Ilyin, Igor Rudenkov and defenceman Artyom Alyaev. Next season Chayka expects their younger players to fill the shoes. Artur Gizdatullin and Roman Gorbunov are one of those players who already looked good in Chayka’s championship season but are trusted to bring their game to the next level next season.

6. U20 TPS (Turku, Finland). TPS represent the town of Turku, Finland and they won Finnish junior league last season, much because of an outstanding performance of their Russian goaltender 19-year-old Alexander Georgiev. A year ago Georgiev couldn’t get starting goalie position on MHC Khmik Voskresensk, so he left for Finland. After several excellent games for U20 TPS, Georgiev got called up to TPS pro team and he didn’t disappoint in Finnish top league either. Georgiev is going to begin the pre-season with TPS pro team as well, but he’s expected to play at the Junior Club World Cup.


7. Djurgarden Hockey AB, (Stockholm, Sweden). Legendary Djurgarden Stockholm junior team won Swedish junior league last season and got to hoist Anton Cup. Interestingly enough, Djurgarden’s top-scorer of last season 19-year-old Daniel Bernhardt plays along with his 17-year-old brother David. The brothers are expected to play in Yekaterinburg and it is not unlikely they will be put on the same powerplay unit.

8. Dinamo-Bobruysk (Bobruysk, Belarus). Bobruysk do consistently well at Junior Club World Cup – they have made the semifinal round in three (!) consecutive seasons. Last year Dinamo-Bobruysk finished the regular season 12th overall and got eliminated from the playoffs by HC MVD. 18-year-old Dmitry Buinitsky is expected to be the leader of the Belarus team. Last season he made his KHL debut with Dinamo Minsk.

Junior World Club Cup Brief Rundown

Past Prize Winners:

2011, Omsk: 1. Red Army Moscow, Russia.  2. Energie Czech Republic. There was no third place game, winner contested by group winners.

2012 Omsk:  1. Sudbury Wolves, Canada.  2. Waterloo Blackhawks, USA.3. Linkoping, Sweden.

2013, Omsk. 1.Omsk Hawks, Russia.         2. HPK, Finland .                      3. Dubuque Fighting Saints, USA

2014,  Ufa.    1. Spartak, Moscow.              2. Tolpar, Ufa                            3. Sioux City Musketeers, USA