2017 World Junior Championship starts today

Annual prospect-fest kicks off north of the border

The NHL might be shut down for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean there is no high-quality hockey being played until the world’s best hit the again on Tuesday.

The 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship gets started today with group play kicking off in Montreal and Toronto.

Montreal’s Bell Centre will host Group A action. Today’s games see Denmark take on Switzerland at 1 p.m. while Finland will do battle with the Czech Republic at 5 p.m.

The Group B matches from Air Canada Centre are today’s highlight. The United States will face off against Latvia at 3:30 p.m. while host Canada takes on Russia at 8 p.m.

Three of the four games will be broadcast on NHL Network, with the tournament-opener between the Danes and Swiss being the only tilt excluded.

Group A consists of the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Group B consists of Canada, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia and the United States.

The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals.

2016 first-round pick Henrik Borgstrom (Finland) is the only player representing the Florida Panthers in the tournament. Borgstrom has collected 16 points (8G/8A) in 14 games for the University of Denver this season.