There are just five more sleeps until the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The tournament is set to begin on Boxing Day in Ufa, Russia. Compared to previous years, Maritimers have a stronger bond with Team Canada this year.

Maritimers will be keeping their eye on Saint John Sea Dogs forward Jonathan Huberdeau and Halifax Moosehead teammates Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, who made the all-star team.

MacKinnon’s former coach and schoolteacher Jon Greenwood says he will be glued to the television for the next two weeks.

"It's exciting to see a kid come through and that you get to spend some time with him. Me, personally, it is fun to see kids nine to ten-years-old and then at 16 and 17, see how they've developed," says Greenwood.

Greenwoodisn’t the only one who appreciates the time he shared with MacKinnon on the ice in Cole Harbour.

"The person I would like to thank is Jon Greenwood," says MacKinnon. "He worked a lot with me off the ice and took time away to work on my skills and really help me develop as a player. I'd like to thank him for that."

The ex-coach says he is grateful for the kind words.

"Did we get him to where he is today? Of course not,” says Greenwood. “He could have got there through different routes. We're excited to be along for the ride with him. A lot of pride from our school to watch him on TV these days."

Hockey fans across the country are starving for the sport, with the NHL lockout leaving a hockey hole on television. As a result, this year’s World Juniors could take on more meaning than in years past.

Canada’s first game, against Germany, airs on TSN on Boxing Day.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth