My favourite Boxing Day tradition is settling in to watch the Canadian juniors open their World Junior Championship. The 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships take place in Buffalo and we play Russia at 3:30pm.
Here's our team this year:
Mark Visentin, 19, 6-foot-2, 198 lbs.
Hometown: Waterdown, Ont.
Teams: Niagara (OHL), Phoenix (NHL)
Olivier Roy, 19, 5-foot-11, 186 lbs.
Hometown: Causapscal, Que.
Teams: Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL), Edmonton (NHL)
Jared Cowen, 19, 6-foot-5, 227 lbs.
Hometown: Allan, Sask.
Teams: Spokane (WHL), Ottawa (NHL)
Simon Despres, 19, 6-foot-4, 222 lbs.
Hometown: Laval, Que.
Teams: Saint John (QMJHL), Pittsburgh (NHL)
Dylan Olsen, 19, 6-foot-2, 223 lbs.
Teams: Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA), Chicago (NHL)
Erik Gudbranson, 18, 6-foot-4, 211 lbs.
Hometown: Orleans, Ont.
Teams: Kingston (OHL), Florida (NHL)
Ryan Ellis, 19, 5-foot-10, 184 lbs.
Hometown: Freelton, Ont.
Teams: Windsor (OHL), Nashville (NHL)
Tyson Barrie, 5-foot-10, 190 lbs.
Hometown: Victoria, B.C.
Teams: Kelowna (WHL), Colorado (NHL)
Calvin de Hann, 19, 6-foot-1, 189 lbs.
Hometown: Carp, Ont.
Teams: Oshawa (OHL), N.Y. Islanders (NHL)
Sean Couturier, 18, 6-foot-3, 192 lbs.
Hometown: Bathurst, N.B.
Teams: Drummondville (QMJHL), 2011 NHL draft eligible
Jaden Schwartz, 18, 5-foot-10, 184 lbs.
Hometown: Emerald Park, Sask.
Teams: Colorado College (NCAA), St. Louis (NHL)
Zack Kassian, 19, 6-foot-3, 226 lbs.
Hometown: LaSalle, Ont.
Teams: Windsor (OHL), Buffalo (NHL)
Brayden Schenn, 19, 6-foot, 199 lbs.
Teams: Brandon (WHL), L.A. Kings (NHL)
Casey Cizikas, 19, 5-foot-11, 191 lbs.
Teams: Mississauga (OHL), N.Y. Islanders (NHL)
Quinton Howden, 18, 6-foot-3, 192 lbs.
Hometown: Oak Bank, Man.
Teams: Moose Jaw (WHL), Florida (NHL)
Curtis Hamilton, 19, 6-foot-3, 202 lbs.
Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
Teams: Saskatoon (WHL), Edmonton (NHL)
Marcus Foligno, 19, 6-foot-2, 200 lbs.
Hometown: Sudbury, Ont.
Teams: Sudbury (OHL), Buffalo (NHL)
Ryan Johansen, 18, 6-foot-2, 193 lbs.
Hometown: Port Moody, B.C.
Teams: Portland (WHL), Columbus (NHL)
Louis Leblanc, 19, 5-foot-11, 181 lbs.
Hometown: Kirkland, Que.
Teams: Montreal (QMJHL), Montreal (NHL)
Cody Eakin, 19, 6-foot, 187 lbs.
Teams: Swift Current (WHL), Washington (NHL)
Carter Ashton, 19, 6-foot-3, 219 lbs.
Teams: Tri-City (WHL), Tampa Bay (NHL)
Brett Connolly, 18, 6-foot-2, 181 lbs.
Hometown: Port Hardy, B.C.
Teams: Prince George (WHL), Tampa Bay (NHL)
We've had some great tilts against Russia in recent years. In 2005, I live-blogged our gold medal game against Russia, a game with some pretty awesome Crosby vs. Ovechkin subtext. And just a couple of years ago, a thrilling semi-final victory over Russia which included a Jordan Eberle goal to tie things up with 5.4 seconds on the clock.
This will be fun. Go Canada Go!