USA Hockey: 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Schedule Announced

The past and future for the United States team for the World Junior Championships is seen here. John Gibson (left) led the US to Gold in 2013. Providence sophomore goaltender Jon Gillies is the favorite to man the pipes in 2014. - Bruce Bennett

The United States will have a chance to defend its gold medal in Malmo, Sweden at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

The International Ice Hockey Federation has released the schedule for the 2014 World Junior Championship to take place in Malmo, Sweden from December 26, 2013 through January 5, 2014. The United States is the defending gold medalists while the Canadian team finds itself in the rare position of not defending a medal.

Team Canada, a group that could feature two collegians, will open up the tournament by playing Germany on December 26th. Providence sophomore forward Mark Jankowski and Boston College sophomore defenseman Michael Matheson have both been invited to participate in Canada's world junior evaluation camp.

The United States team will feature a slew of NCAA players as usual. The red, white and blue will play its first game four hours after the Canadians when it takes on the team from the Czech Republic.

Two days later on December 28th the USA will play Slovakia. The following day will pit the Germans against the Americans. The final game of the preliminary round will feature the most anticipated battle between the United States and its rivals from north of the border. A New Year's Eve clash between Canada and the United States will help the two countries send 2013 out with a bang.

The quarterfinals will take place on January 2nd with the semifinals two days later on the 4th followed by the Gold Medal game on Sunday, January 5th.

As usual, NCAA players representing their respective countries will potentially miss two weekends of college action. The first weekend is mostly holiday tournaments whereas the second weekend is a lot of non-conference action with a few league matchups sprinkled in.

Jeff Cox is a hockey reporter for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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