The 2019 World Junior Championship opens today in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Florida Panthers top prospects Owen Tippett (Canada) and Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland) will be in action while this past summer’s first round pick, Grigori Denisenko (Russia) will play tomorrow.
Tippett and Canada will face Denmark in Group A action from Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Tippett is projected to be on Canada’s top line with Anaheim prospect Max Comtois and Vegas prospect Cody Glass. Tippett comes into the tournament with 19 goals and 14 assists in 23 games for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. The game will start at 8 p.m. and be joined in progress on NHL Network at 9 p.m. after the conclusion of the USA - Slovakia game, which starts at 6:30 p.m.
Heponiemi and Finland will open with bitter rival, Sweden in the day’s final Group B game from Victoria. The game will be broadcast on NHL Network at 10:30 p.m. Heponiemi enters the tournament with 26 points (8G/18A) in 29 games with Karpat of Finland’s Liiga, the top division in the country.
Denisenko and the Russians, like Canada, will open Group A play against Denmark tomorrow at 4 p.m. on NHL Network. The young Denisenko has bounced around a bit so far this season. He has scored 3 goals in 15 KHL games with Lokomotiv Yaroslav; a goal and two assists in four games for Loko’s junior squad in the MHL; and in six games with Lada Togliatti in the second division VHL, he has scored a goal and an assist.