If you're a hockey fan like me, I hope you woke up at odd hours in the morning here in the Western Hemisphere for the World Junior Championships, being held in Ufa, Russia. We saw the last four gold medals in the final four for this year's championship: Canada, USA, Russia and Sweden. Led by John Gibson in net, Seth Jones, Jake McCabe at the blue line and John Gaudreau and Rocco Grimaldi up front, the USA were able to beat Canada 5-1 in the semifinal and defeat Sweden today 3-1 to win the gold.
The most noticeable thing about the World Juniors is that it gave many people on Twitter a chance to tweet about actual hockey games. Aside from a couple tweets about an OHL, AHL or NCAA game, all the hockey tweets include discussions about the lockout. There are still plenty of people who do care enough about the sport that continue to be upset with all the posturing by both the NHL and NHLPA throughout this negotiation (this is my first mention of the lockout on the blog). There is a window of one week where the hope is for the NHL to resume playing and the focus goes back on the ice. If not, we will have the second cancelled season in 9 years.
Should the season get cancelled, us hockey fans will have to think of the World Juniors, the NCAA Tourney and the Memorial Cup as the biggest events that could bring hockey fans together, aside from their hatred of Gary Bettman. For that, I will thank the USA team for making me care about hockey again and demonstrating how great the game is when bickering isn't involved (unless the bickering is like this).