The 2023 World Junior Championship gets underway today in in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
The Florida Panthers have four prospects taking part in this year’s tournament. Forward Jakub Kos and defenseman Marek Alscher will play for Czechia. Forward Sandis Vilmanis is on Latvia’s roster. Defenseman Ludvig Jansson will be suiting up for Sweden.
Kos, a sixth-round pick (184th overall) in 2021, played in last year’s tournament in Edmonton and collected one assist in seven games for the Czechs, who finished in fourth place. In 15 games with KOOVEE in Finland’s second division Metsis, the 19-year-old Kos has produced two goals and seven assists so far this season. He has also played eight games with Ilves U20 junior squad and put up two goals and 11 points.
Alscher, a third-round pick (93rd overall) in 2022, has produced six goals, five assists and 32 PIM in 26 games in second season with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. The 18-year-old blueliner will be making his tournament debut.
Like Kos, Vilmanis, a fifth-round pick (157th overall) in 2022, participated in last year’s tournament and posted one assist in five games played. He also produced three points at the Division IA tournament last December as Latvia finished in second place and replaced suspended Belarus in the top level. He’s currently third in scoring on the OHL’s Sarnia Sting as an 18-year-old playing in North America for the first time with 11 goals and 24 points.
Jansson, a fourth-round selection (125th overall) in 2022, will be making his WJC debut. The 18-year-old has appeared in 25 HockeyAllsvenskan games for Sodertalje SK this season, producing a goal and five assists. He has already eclipsed his assist and point total from last year when he played 47 games with the second division club.
Group A consists of host Canada, Sweden, Czechia, Germany and Austria. The preliminary round games for this group will take place in Halifax at Scotiabank Centre, which has a capacity of 10,595.
Group B consists of the United States, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia. The preliminary round games for this group will take place at Avenir Centre in Moncton, which has a capacity of 8,800.
Sweden (Jansson) vs Austria 1:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
Czechia (Kos, Alscher) vs Canada 6:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
Switzerland vs Finland 11 a.m. (NHL Network)
Latvia (Vilmanis) vs United States 4 p.m. (NHL Network)