Belarus became an independent nation in 1991, and the team made their first appearance at the top level World Junior Hockey Championships in 1998, when Belarus won Pool B (now Division I). The U20 team attracted plenty of NHL scouts at the 1999 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Winnipeg, but the Belarussians never won a game and tied Kazakhstan in round-robin play. Belarus finished 10th and were relegated to Pool B for 2000, which was staged in Minsk, Belarus. The team easily returned to the top level by defeating Germany in the final. Belarus had little trouble adjusting to the 2001 World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia since players played all over Russia and the former Soviet states Latvia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus. Vitali Aristau was 15-years old when he was part of the team in 1999, was still not good enough to be the starting goaltender for the 2001 squad. The team had two more returnees from the 1999 squad - Konstantin Koltsov and Andrei Maroz. The Belarussians avoided relegation by winning and tying a game against the Kazakhs. Belarus would compete in the next 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships, until finally being relegated along with Germany under the new IIHF format. Belarus would return to the top division in 2005, where they would upset the hosts USA 5-2 in round-robin play, but were relegated again with Germany. Belarus made their last World Junior Championships appearance at the top level in 2007, and have struggled since to be promoted.