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.
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