According to Aaron Vickers of the Calgary Flames website, Calgary Flames left winger Sven Baertschi will be playing for Switzerland at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Hockey Championship in Minsk, Belarus. Baertschi had two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 26 games for the Flames this season.
Baertschi will be one of five Calgary Flames participating at the World Hockey Championship. Sean Monahan is representing Canada, Johnny Gaudreau is representing the United States, Jiri Hudler is representing the Czech Republic and Mikael Backlund is representing Sweden.
Baertschi has represented Switzerland four times before. He participated at the 2009 and 2010 World Under-18 Hockey Championship and the 2011 and 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship. In 20 games, Baertschi notched three goals and five assists for eight points.
A native of Langenthal, Switzerland, Baertschi was the Flames' first round pick, 13th overall in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft. A product of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, Baertschi has played in 51 career games for the Calgary Flames. Last year he shared his time with the Flames and the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.
Baertschi was unable to compete at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Hockey Championship. According to Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald, a groin injury prevented Baertschi from participating in the prestigious event a year ago.
Switzerland will play its first game against powerhouse Russia in group B on Friday, May 9. Switzerland will also be in the same pool as Finland, the United States, Germany, Latvia, Kazakhstan and the host Belarus.
This is the first time ever that the World Men's Hockey Championship is taking place in Belarus. The nation has a population of 9.5 million. The greatest hockey moment in the history of Belarus was finishing in fourth place in the men's tournament at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Belarus stunned Sweden 4-3 in the quarterfinals.