How does the 2025 World Juniors format work?

The World Junior Ice Hockey Championship is a highly popular annual hockey competition consisting of the top under-20 ice hockey players from around the world. The teams are divided into two groups of five in the preliminary stage, and then further divided into three groups in the elimination round.

Tournament Format

The ten teams get divided into two groups of five-member teams each in what is known as the preliminary round. All the teams play 4 games, and then they are ranked from first to tenth based on their win-loss record. The last-placed teams from both groups will be eliminated from further playing at the 2025 World Juniors Championship.

Group A (Canadian Tire Centre)Group B (TD Place Arena)
United StatesSweden

The top four ranked teams from each group move forward into the playoff round or the medal round. The teams are divided into three groups of four teams each, and they will play a best-of-three playoff within their group to determine their final order in the standings.

The Championship Game

The top two ranked teams from the three groups competing in the medal round qualify for the knock-out game or the Championship game. The two teams play against each other to determine the winner of the 2025 World Junior Hockey Championship.

The top four placed teams in the preliminary round play in the medal round, also known as the playoff round. The teams are divided into three groups of four teams each. Within their group, each team plays a best-of-three-game series to determine the final standings. 1A vs. 4B, and 1B vs. 4A, and 2A vs. 3B, and 2B vs. 3A.

The top two teams from each of the medal round groups play in the semifinal games to determine which team will participate in the championship game and win gold, and which will participate in the bronze medal game to win bronze.

Relegation format

The two last-placed teams play a best-of-three series, with the loser of each game staying in the relegation round. The winner of each game is promoted to next year’s Division I A tournament. The team that wins the final match-up is designated as the tenth-ranked team at the World Juniors Championship and stays for another year in Division I B.

Three-Point System

In ice hockey, a team is said to have acquired a “goal”, when it scores one point as a result of the goal being scored by its attacking side. A team may only acquire one point each time an opponent’s goaltender lets in a regulation-sized puck from crossing the goal line under his body jurisdiction. For all games points shall be awarded as follows:

  • Three points for the winning side in a regulation-time victory.
  • 1 point for both teams in a tie game at the end of regulation time.
  • One point for each team when the winning side is determined after regulation play, excluding overtime or shootout as follows:
  • Zero points for the team losing the game during regulation play.
  • One point for the team that has lost the game during overtime or a shootout.
  • Two points for the team that has won a game during overtime or shootout (excluding games decided by penalty shot).

Overtime and Shootout Format

All games, except those decided in a penalty shoot, shall be played with a twenty-minute stop time, divided into two periods. In case the players tie on the scoreboard for two periods, there will be 5 minutes of sudden-victory overtime. If still tied after five minutes of play, a penalty shootout will determine the winner.

Penalty Shot Format

In case the game is tied at full time and no winner can be decided by a shootout, a penalty shot session will be held. Each team selects five shooters. The goaltender from the non-offending team shall select one of three zones into which he must defend his goal, and the shooter against him must start each breakaway play in that zone before attempting to score. If a penalty shot ends up in a tie, another penalty shot would be taken until there is a winner.