2024 IIHF World Junior Championship

Which Country Has Won The Most Gold Medals At World Junior Championship?

Which Country Has Won The Most Gold Medals At World Junior Championship?

Which country has won the most gold medals at the World Juniors? Which country has taken silver the most? FloHockey answers those questions.

Sep 6, 2023 by Ryan Sikes

The IIHF World Junior Championship is an annual tournament showcasing the best under-20 talent around the world. The first official tournament was held in 1977.

The international tournament, which features 10 national teams including one each from the U.S. and Canada, provides added excitement to the holiday season, beginning on Dec. 26 and running to Jan. 5.  

Subscribe To FloHockey For Great Live Hockey Events

Follow FloHockey's Coverage Of The 2024 World Junior Championship

Relive The 2023 World Junior Championship With FloHockey's Chris Peters

The tournament features a round-robin portion, playoff round and medal round. Each of the top eight teams advance to the quarterfinals, with the bottom two teams playing in a relegation round. The winners of each quarterfinal go on to the semifinals with the winners of those matchups playing in the gold-medal game and the losers playing in the bronze-medal game.

One country has dominated this event over the last 30 years in particular.

Team Canada Has Won The Most Gold Medals At The World Junior Championship

Canada has won the most gold medals at the World Junior Championship by far with 20.

The Canadians secured their first gold medal at the IIHF World Juniors in 1982, topping Czechoslovakia in the championship game. 

In 1985, Canada again beat Czechoslovakia, marking the country’s second gold medal in four seasons.

The 1990s saw Team Canada dominate the World Juniors, earning seven gold medals between 1990 and 1997, only failing to medal in 1992.

With four silver medals between 1999 and 2003, Team Canada returned to tournament glory, capturing five straight gold medals between 2005 and 2009.

Team Canada went six years without the taste of gold, before topping Russia in the championship game in 2015. Since then, the Canadians have claimed four more gold medals in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023.

Behind the efforts of 17-year-old sensation Connor Bedard, who set the Canada’s all-time single-tournament and career points records in the tournament, the Canadians claimed their 20th gold medal on home ice in Halifax in 2023.

Here is the complete list of countries that have won a gold medal at the World Juniors more than once:

    Canada 20

    Soviet Union 8

    Finland 5

    United States 5

    Russia 4

    Sweden 2

    Czechia 2

Prior to Canada's dominance of the event, the Soviet Union had held control of the top of the podium. The Soviets won each of the first four World Junior Championships from 1977 to 1980. The USSR's famed hockey program went on to win eight gold medals in the first 12 years of the event's existence. 

Additionally, the Commonwealth of Independent States team that was made up of players from former Soviet states in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, won the gold medal in 1992. If you were to combine those golds with Russia's four won since the fall of the Soviet Union, the country has accounted for 13 gold medals in total. Those results have been separated out in the IIHF record books, however.

Which Team Has Won The Most Silver Medals At The World Juniors?

With 11 silver medals, Sweden has finished runner-up in the IIHF World Juniors more than any other country. They have claimed gold just twice, in 1981 and most recently in 2012.

The Swedes claimed their first silver medal in 1978, falling to the Soviet Union in the championship game. Between 1989 and 1996, Sweden captured five more second-place finishes, including three straight between 1992 and 1994.

Team Sweden went over a decade without capturing any medals but returned to the podium with back-to-back silver medals in 2008 and 2009 and again in 2013 and 2014.

In 2018, the Swedes claimed their record 11th silver medal, falling to Team Canada in the championship game.

Which Team Has Won The Most Bronze Medals At The World Juniors?

Russia has won the bronze medal more than any other nation at the World Junior Championship with nine third-place finishes. That does not include the two bronzes won by the Soviet Union. 

In its post-Soviet hockey era, Russia captured its first bronze medal in 1994, topping Finland in the third-place game and going back-to-back in 1996 and 1997, 2008 and 2009, and lastly in 2013 and 2014.

After capturing consecutive silver medals in 2015 and 2016, the Russians captured their eighth and ninth bronze medals in 2017 and 2019.

Following the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the IIHF banned Russia from participating in IIHF competition, marking the 2021 World Juniors as Russia’s last time appearing in the tournament.

The ban remains in place for the 2024 IIHF tournament calendar.

How Has Team USA Done At The World Junior Championship?

The U.S. has won a total of 14 medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship, claiming five golds, two silvers and seven bronze medals.

Aside from a couple of bronze medal finishes in 1986 and 1992 and a silver medal in 1997, the United States was largely absent from the podium for the first 30 years of the tournament.

However, the 2000s saw the rise of the Americans, capturing the country’s first gold medal in 2004. 

Between 2010 and 2021, Team USA claimed four more gold medals in 2010, 2013, 2017, 2021.

Their most recent gold medal came in thrilling fashion with a 2-0 win over Canada during the only World Juniors to be played in a bubble without fans in Edmonton, Alberta. Trevor Zegras led Team USA to the gold as the team’s leading scorer and scored the goal that broke a 0-0 deadlock with Canada in the championship game.

Most recently, the US claimed their seventh bronze medal in 2023, topping Team Sweden 8-7 in overtime in one of the craziest bronze-medal games to date.

Follow The World Junior Championship With FloHockey

As part of FloSports' rapidly growing hockey content offering, veteran analyst and writer Chris Peters provides exclusive and unique coverage of the World Junior Championship including robust coverage in the lead-up to the tournament each year. Be sure to check out FloHockey's 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship collection page to get the latest news, analysis and feature stories from Chris and the FloHockey team.