This year's World Junior Hockey tournament was held in the beautiful city of Gothenburg, Sweden. A city and country I was fortunate enough to visit during my teenage years. It's always held a special place for me, and is the team I cheer for, if Canada gets knocked out.
For most, when your country loses you lose interest and tune out of the tournament. This holds even more true when time zones come into play. The games weren't in the middle of the night but early enough that if you planned on sleeping in during the holidays then getting up for the games would have been a challenge.
WJHC 2024 tournament overview
The tournament's performance from an audience perspective has always been linked to how far Team Canada goes and we didn't go as far as we hoped this year. We had a good team, not a great one like we've seen previously with many high NHL draft picks leading the way. We were a team of hard-working players, playing for their country and families just like the other teams.
The tournament started out great for Team Canada, earning a strong 5-2 win against the competitive Finland team with just over 2.6 million Canadians tuning into the game on Boxing Day. Word spread heading into the next game against Latvia with almost 3 million Canadians tuning in to watch a decisive 10-0 win by our young men. Audiences continued to grow with around 3.5 million tuning into each of the next 2 games.
Our first real adversity came from the home team. Team Sweden was able to keep us off the score sheet and secured an important win over Team Canada during the preliminary games. We did manage to bounce back against the Germans, posting a competitive 6-3 win and securing our place in the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals are often considered one of the most difficult games to win, especially when you're the betting favourite team to win. But this wasn't just any quarterfinals, this was a rematch from last year's Gold medal game against Czechia.
With an early start and most people heading back to work after the New Year, we didn't come out to support the team with the same numbers we'd previously seen. We still had almost 2 million viewers tune in and watch Czechia get an early 2-goal lead during the first period. Team Canada battled back, tied up the game and dominated play during the third period. The type of dominance where viewers start to feel uneasy as time ticks away, where a single bad bounce could change everything. Now we didn't just have one bad bounce but two. With 11 seconds to play in the game the puck bounced off two of our players before ending up in our net. Heartbreak hits and settles in; this wasn't our year.
The tournament concluded with Team USA winning their second championship in the last 4 years and extending Sweden's gold medal drought to 12 years. But don't worry, all is not lost as the tournament returns next year to home soil. We are heading to Ottawa next holiday season where a home crowd will give our players an extra boost along with more favourable game times to bring in even more viewers and memories.
WJHC 2024 live viewing highlights
Overall, 21.6% (8.4 mil) of Canadians 2+ watched at least 1 minute of the tournament. Lower than last year's 34% where audiences continued to grow as Canada advanced and won the Gold medal.
The most watched game was Canada vs. Germany with over 1.4 million Canadians watching on an average minute.
The Gold medal game was viewed by almost 1.5 million people with 390 thousand watching on an average minute.
For more details, including viewing figures for each Canada game, NLogic TV PPM subscribers can view our dashboard on the Lens platform.