With their big 5-1 win over Norway on Friday, Belarus has earned promotion to the top group for the 2016 World Juniors.

Belarus made their last World Junior Championships appearance at the top level in 2007, so the victory this week will definitely boost their spirits. The promotion was earned in their fourth of five games at the Division IA tournament, coming after a win against the team that played with the top division in 2014.

There is a downside to the promotion, however. In a tournament where the newly promoted teams usually struggle to stay alive, Belarus will have only three returning players for the 2016 tournament in forwards Dmitri Buinitsky and Vladislav Misnikov, as well as defenseman Daniil Bokun.

Last December, Belarus finished in third place for the first time ever in Division IA after six consecutive years of coming in second. The team has previously earned promotion three times before this year in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

Unfortunately for Slovenia, the home of Anze Kopitar will be relegated to Division IB for 2016. This is the first time the country has ever been relegated at the U20 level, so there will definitely be some changes looming. This comes in the same year that the team won their first ever game at the 2014 Olympics, as well as earning promotion to the top division of the World Championships for 2015.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

About The Author

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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