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On The World StageWeird Hockey History

First World Junior Tourney Not Much Of A Spectacle

Millions of Canadians will be glued to their device of choice on Sunday afternoon, watching to see if Canada can defeat Russia and claim the country’s 18th world junior championship. But truth be told, before TSN’s wall-to-wall coverage made this tournament must-see TV viewing during the holiday season, no one much cared about the world junior.

Including Canada.

The first three world junior tournaments weren’t even classified as official International Ice Hockey Federation events. Hockey Canada didn’t bother to assemble a national team of junior stars. Canada simply sent the reigning Memorial Cup champions, bolstered by a few players from other teams within the same major junior league.

Peterborough Petes

At the inaugural world junior tourney in 1974 in Leningrad, Canada was represented by the Peterborough Petes.

Coached by Roger Neilson, Peterborough’s roster included such future NHLers as center Doug Jarvis, a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, forwards Stan Jonathan, Tony Cassolato, Don (Red) Laurence and Paul Evans, and defensemen Doug Halward Peter Scamurra and Paul McIntosh.

Jarvis led the team in scoring with 2-5-7 totals. Forward Bill Evo, who’d later play in the WHA, topped the team with three goals.

Canada finished third in the six-team tournament, posting a 3-2 record and earning the bronze medal. The Canadians were edged 4-3 by the silver medalists from Finland (4-1), and routed 9-0 by the mighty Soviet Union (5-0), who won the gold medal.

The winning Russian roster included future stars such as goalie Vladimir Mychkin, defenseman Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, and forwards Viktor Zhluktov, Boris Alexandrov and Viktor Khatulev. Finland’s most well-known player was future New York Ranger Mikko Leinonen.

Sweden (2-3)  didn’t win a medal, but suited up future NHLers Roland Erkisson, the tournament scoring leader with nine points, and Vancouver Canucks great Thomas Gradin. Paul Holmgren played for the USA (1-4) and future Toronto Maple Leaf Slava Duris was on defense for Czechoslovakia (1-4).

Three Canadians – goalie Frank Salive and defenseman McIntosh and Jim Turkiewicz, who’d later play in the WHA for the Toronto Toros – were named to the all-tournament team.

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