In a result that surprised no one, Germany easily qualified for the 2013 U20 World Juniors in Ufa, Russia, by winning the 2012 U20 Division 1A tournament in which they hosted in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. In the end, it wasn't even close, as Germany won all five of their games in regulation while outscoring their opponents 34-9. It was a different procedure this year, where only one team would be promoted from Division 1, and the Division 1A pool was made up exclusively of the teams ranked 11th-16th in the world. This was supposed to make the tournament more competitive, but Germany is really a nation that does not belong at this level, and may find themselves a more or less permanent fixture at the elite level starting in 2013, as they have consistently been the 9th best junior hockey nation in recent years.
Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder led the tournament in scoring with 13 points in just 5 games, and six Germans in total finished in the top 10 in tournament scoring. Despite this, Rieder didn't win the honour of being named the tournament's top forward, that went to Sondre Olden of Norway, a Maple Leafs prospect. Olden helped Norway to a bronze medal with 8 points. German defender and Sharks prosect Konrad Abeltshauser was named the tournament's top defencemen, and German goaltender Mathias Niederberger was named the top goaltender. Great Britain, as expected, were relegated to Division 1B after a miserable tournament with five regulation losses and being outscored 37-6. Belarus won the silver medal with a 3-0-1-1 record.
In other IIHF U20 tournaments last week, France pulled off the rare back-to-back gold medal performance by winning the Division 1B tournament in Poland, a year after winning the Division 2A tournament. France will join the Division 1A level next year, taking Great Britain's spot. Meanwhile, Ukraine took advantage of their home ice and won the Division 2B tournament to earn promotion with a near perfect 3-2-0-0 record. Ukraine will be taking Japan's spot in the Division 1B group, as Japan finished last in that level with a 0-1-0-4 record. Romania dominated the Division 2B level in Estonia, finishing with a perfect record. Romania will be promoted to the 2A level, replacing South Korea who lost the Division 2A tournament. Mexico finished last in the 2A tournament, and will be back in Division 3 next year. The Division 3 tournament for 2012 will take place in Dunedin, New Zealand, in January.
Join me after the jump for the total ranking of these nations, along with the best players for each team as named by the coaches of each tournament: