The 2021 World Youth Hockey Championship: USA Schedule, Odds and Preview of the Annual Winter Tournament

As is tradition, the end of December signifies another World Juniors Hockey Tournament. This year's competition could not possibly be hosted in a better country, as the home of hockey Canada will play hosts in 2021. 

The tournament will stretch from December 25th - January 6th and will be hosted in Edmonton for Group A games and Red Deer, Alberta for the Group B games.  

USA sportsbooks have slowly been releasing lines for the tournament’s first games. So lets preview the upcoming spectacle and check out the odds on the teams involved. 

Futures: Sportsbook Favorites and Analysis 

The 2021 World Juniors will be held in the tournament’s standard format:

  • Group Stage
  • Playoffs

  • Championship Game

Unfortunately, for the United States, we will not see our boys take on Canada in the group stages. We are settling for the next best thing however, as Russia will be among the five teams in our Group B. 

Both the United States and Canada will presumably need to reach the final in order to face off. 

United States: Starting with a game against Russia, then comes the rest of Group B

The World Juniors Championship is an excellent opportunity for youth hockey players around the world to showcase their skills. While in the tournament’s formative years the United States was never truly a top competitor, our name is now one of the most feared on the rink. 

World Juniors in 2017 was the last time the United States won the competition. The team did so in a decisive fashion winning Group B over opponents like Canada and Russia on its way to the 5-4 championship win over Canada.

In the past 20 years, the United States has won the gold four times, finished second place once and third place four times. While a near 50% top three finish rate isn't very impressive, the team has only finished out of third once in the past five tournaments. 

2021 USA World Juniors Group Schedule
  • vs. Russia (Fri., Dec. 25; 9:30 pm)
  • vs. Austria (Sat., Dec. 26; 9:30 pm)
  • vs. Czech Republic (Tue., Dec. 29; 2:00 pm)
  • vs. Sweden (Thur., Dec. 31; 9:30 pm)
(Playoffs begin January 2nd; at 12:00 PM.)  

The team has already confirmed that Nate Leaman will be coaching the team at the 2021 World Juniors. The Providence College coach has experience with the national team, and has high hopes for the upcoming tournament: 

"Any time you have the chance to represent your country it's a proud moment, particularly in a tournament like the World Juniors. I look forward to the challenge ahead. We have one goal in mind, and that is to bring home a gold medal."

Leaman previously won the Spencer Penrose Award in 2011 at Union College and led Providence College to its first NCAA title in 2015. He replaces Scott Sandelin as the head coach.

What's the competition like in Group B? 

The second group at the 2021 World Juniors is the much tougher draw. Right away we see two of the heaviest hitters in the tournament; the USA and Russia. Rounding out the group, the Czech Republic and Sweden do not offer too much comfort either. 

Here is the complete Group B makeup for the 2021 World Juniors:

Team/ Country

Gold Medals

United States 


Russia/ Soviet Union


Czech Republic






For the United States, this tournament will waste no time heating up to a maximum, as the team’s first game will be against Russia on December 25th at 9:30 PM. This game could truly decide who will go on to win the entire group. 

USA sportsbooks have dropped odds on the game, with Russia being the slight favorite.

The team that wins this game will not only receive the point, but also a massive boost of confidence going into the remaining games. Let's remember, that the team who finishes higher in the group will have the easier opponent come playoffs. 

Canada: Perfect Conditions for a Tournament Victory at Home

That lucky ticket was drawn this year in favor of the Canadians. The 2021 World Juniors will be hosted in Canada, whose team has a couple of major advantages this year.  

  1. The entire tournament will be hosted in Canada. This marks the 14th time in the tournament’s history and the eighth time in the 21st century. 
  2. The Canadians were placed in Group A. The team is so much stronger than the rest of the group that it could potentially not lose a single game. 

This is dictated by the level of quality in Group A, which is admittedly much weaker than the opposite group. Three of the five teams have never won the competition, leading us to believe the group will be a two-horse race, with one horse (Canada) being much faster. 

Team/ Country

Gold Medals











In fact, while looking at sportsbooks around the world, we find an incredible deal of confidence in the Canadian team. Some sportsbooks are even offering pretty high odds on the Canadian team to NOT win the group. 

Unsurprisingly, the Canadians are also the most successful team in the history of the World Juniors. The team has won gold 18 times, and won 32 medals over the tournament’s 43 years. 

The team has also won five straight gold medals twice; from 1993-97 and from 2005-09. 

It's worth mentioning just in case someone does not know, but Canada are also the reigning champions heading into the 2021 World Juniors. 

Canada will be coached by André Tourigny, the former assistant coach for Ottawa Senators and the Colorado Avalanche. The team will begin the tournament against Germany on December 26th at 6:00 PM.  

Sportsbook Odds on the First Games of the Tournament

Friday, December 25th 
  • 2:00 PM - Slovakia vs. Switzerland 
  • 6:00 PM - Finland vs. Germany
  • 9:30 PM - USA vs Russia
Saturday, December 26th
  • 2:00 PM - Czech Republic vs. Sweden

  • 6:00 PM - Canada vs. Germany
  • 9:30 PM - USA vs. Austria

(All times in Eastern Standard)

As always, we look forward to cheering on our Minnesota National Team (joke!) as it enters yet another World Juniors. With a fresh new coach and an eager team of youths, we can only hope for another 2017 where we find the gold medal.