International Ice Hockey Federation

Canada loves New Year’s Eve

Canada loves New Year’s Eve

Relive host nation’s top 5 victories on Dec. 31

Published 30.12.2014 15:12 GMT-5 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Canada loves New Year’s Eve
Canadian forward John Tavares scores one of his goals on Team USA netminder Thomas McCollum during the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Canada is hoping to add another memorable win to its list of New Year’s Eve successes when it faces the archrival Americans on Wednesday.

At this tournament, Canada has fared exceptionally well on New Year’s Eve over the years. It boasts a record of 16 wins (one by shootout), four ties, and four losses (one by shootout).

Although people in Canada perceive a New Year’s Eve game featuring their nation as a longstanding tradition, the reality is that many World Juniors – particularly in Europe – haven’t included any New Year’s Eve games at all. So, the lesson is to enjoy these often loud and crazy tilts when they come along.

Here’s a quick look back at Canada’s top five biggest wins on New Year’s Eve. (Keep in mind, naturally, that the games described all took place in the calendar year before the year of the tournament. So, for instance, the 1978 New Year’s Eve game was on December 31, 1977.)

1978 WJC, Montreal – Canada finishes with bronze

Canada, starring a 16-year-old Wayne Gretzky, rallies with four third-period goals for a 6-3 come-from-behind victory over Czechoslovakia. Stan Smyl’s first goal of the tournament with 5:16 left, a deflection on a point drive by Brad McCrimmon, proves to be the difference.

1988 WJC, Moscow – Canada finishes with gold

The Canadians – including future legends like Joe Sakic, Mark Recchi, and Theo Fleury – build a 5-2 second-period lead on an American team that boasts soon-to-be 1990’s NHL superstars Jeremy Roenick, John LeClair, and Mike Modano. The U.S. comes back in the third to make it a one-goal game, but Chris Joseph’s goal stands up as Canada’s winner.

2006 WJC, Vancouver – Canada finishes with gold

Star American defenceman and future Olympian Jack Johnson becomes Public Enemy Number One in Canada when he’s perceived to have elbowed agitator Steve Downie at the end of a hotly contested 3-2 Canadian victory. The Americans fight back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it up, but pull their goalie in a bid to get the winner and top the preliminary round group, enabling Kyle Chipchura to score into an empty net.

2009 WJC, Ottawa – Canada finishes with gold

John Tavares scores a hat trick in front of an ecstatic, then-record crowd of 20,203 to help Canada beat the Americans 7-4. That feat erases a 3-0 American lead built in the first 12 minutes. The game reaps an average audience of 1.67 million viewers on TSN.

2011 WJC, Saskatoon – Canada finishes with silver

Canada’s Brandon Kozun – who ironically holds dual Canadian and American citizenship – gets the 5-4 shootout winner on  U.S. goalie Jack Campbell. The eventual champion Americans squander a 4-2 third-period lead.


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