A Tournament Of Champions

Dec 16, 2021 | Craig Peterson

Espoo-Blues

Is The Top Team In America The Top Team In The World?

Puck drop for the 2022 Champions League is two weeks away, and top teams from five different countries will compete for youth hockey’s first ever world championship. The inaugural event will begin on Dec. 28th, when Seacoast Performance Academy (USA) takes on Järved IF (Sweden) to kick off the 10-team, five-day event in Miami, Florida. Participants will compete in five games of international pool play before being seeded in a single-elimination playoff tournament, deciding a champion on Jan. 2nd.

The field consists of five American teams, three of which rank in the top 10 in the country. Top-ranked Windy City Storm, No. 2-ranked Los Angeles Jr. Kings and No. 3 Little Caesars represent the best that the U.S. has to offer. Other top programs like Seacoast and Yale Jr. Bulldogs from New England provide a diverse makeup of teams from all four corners of the 50 states.

The No. 2 and No. 6 ranked teams from Finland travel across the Atlantic to represent the very best from Scandinavia with Kiekko Espoo and Espoo Blues. They’re joined by bordering neighbor and No. 6-ranked Sweden-based Järved IF also in the mix. 

HK Dukla Trencin is a top team among central European countries, representing Slovakia while in the Sunshine State. Similarly, Barys is the lone representative from Eastern Europe, carrying the Kazakhstan flag into the international event.

Several Canadian organizations faced challenges regarding travel restrictions involving COVID-19, as did some programs from Russia and other European regions. 

The 10 teams will compete at the Florida Panthers Ice Den in Coral Springs, Florida; a state-of-the-art venue that also serves as the practice facility for the NHL franchise. Participants will be treated to an opening-night party filled with food and an official welcome from tournament directors, including gift bags and other memorabilia to commemorate the inaugural event. Teams have also been invited to attend the Panthers’ home game against in-state rival and reigning Stanley Cup champion, Tampa Bay Lightning, at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida. 

The Champions League will be available to live stream for free, provided with full play-by-play, all week long. World Hockey Hub will also have exclusive coverage, player interviews, highlights, photo galleries and recaps of all the action. Stay up-to-date on everything tournament related by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube.

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