The junior teams were up for a North American adventure in 2019. It was the first time that the Men’s U19 World Championships was held outside of Europe, in particular in Halifax, the capital of the Canadian province Nova Scotia. 16 teams were up for the challenge to win the championship gold, but only one could be successful. And in the end, it proved to be a result of the history books.
In the A division, the usual suspects competed for the top positions. Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic challenged each other straight from the beginning of the tournament and safe to say, these matches already showed what an interesting WFC lies ahead. The Czech Republic faced Sweden in their opening match of the championship and right of the bat, the Czech youngers showed they came to Canada with only one mission, and that was the gold medal. In the end, they managed to beat Sweden 5:1 and immediately became a team to fear. From the other two, it was Finland who emerged victorious from their match against Switzerland, though with a smaller goal difference, winning the match 6:4. Both the Czech Republic and Finland went on to win all their remaining group stage matches, while Sweden and Switzerland suffered the mentioned one loss each. Latvia and Slovakia each managed to steal one win for themselves in the group stage while Norway and Denmark were left empty-handed.
In the B division, Russia and Germany got to the top of their group standings, with Poland and Slovenia as the runner ups. However, Russia then suffered a tough loss in the semifinal and got eliminated by Slovenia. Germany on the other hand had no problem with Poland and easily earned their way into the B division finals. They confirmed their dominance there, beating Slovenia 9:3 and remaining undefeated in the tournament. Thanks to this achievement, Germany advanced to the elite groups for the upcoming U19 WFC.
In the A division semifinals, Czech Republic faced Switzerland while Sweden stood against their long-term rival, Finland. The Czechs proved their top form in the championship and advanced smoothly to the finals, beating the Swiss 9-4, with the help of their team captain Josef Juha scoring a hattrick. Sweden as well did not hesitate in their efforts to earn their place in the finals and beat Finland 8:2. We got to see another hattrick, this time by Sweden’s Victor Wettergren.
Then it was down to two teams who have already faced each other, way back in the very beginning. The final was Sweden against Czech Republic. Sweden with 5 U19 WFC gold medals was up against Czech Republic, who still had to win one. And it is safe to say they rose up to the challenge. The Czechs did not hesitate for a while in the match and straight from the beginning left no space for speculation. Scoring three goals in the second and five more in the third period, while allowing the Swedes to score only twice, the Czech Republic became World Junior Champions, winning their first-ever WFC gold. It was a moment of pure joy for the Czech youngsters, who did not only win the first-ever junior gold but the first-ever gold for any Czech national team.
The bronze medal game, a reprise of the group stage match was in the end again a victory for Finland. Although the Swiss managed to tie the game to 2:2, they did not have an answer for two more Finnish goals and were left with the unpopular fourth place.
The world champions from the Czech Republic also took up three spots on the all-star team. Goalkeeper Martin Hales, defender Filip Forman and forward Jonas Kreysa were joined by Moritz Mock from Switzerland (defender), Victor Wettergren (centre) and Roman Faith (forward). Victor Wettergren also won the scoring leader statistics with 13 points for 9 goals and 4 assists.