CALGARY, AB --
For Calgary Flames 2011 first-round draft pick Sven Baertschi
, the Portland Winterhawks lone trip to the Scotiabank Saddledome has been a bittersweet experience.
On one hand, he's disappointed he won't be suiting up with his team to take on the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday night as he suffered a hip injury on Oct. 18 and has been sidelined ever since.
On the other hand, he's feeling well enough to travel with the team on their nine-game road swing and was able to hit the ice for a solo skate this morning.
"It's special to come back here," he told CalgaryFlames.com. "I really love the city and I really love the rink so it was fun to be out there on the ice by myself and just thinking about those memories I have, when I was here. For sure, it was a special moment when I stepped on the ice."
Despite missing the last two games and only playing in eight due to his time in the Flames training camp, Baertschi is still among the top twenty scorers in the WHL with 17 points. He credits his offensive outburst to his linemate, Ty Rattie.
"It's still a lot of fun to play with him. So we just kept going. We did the same thing as last year and the points are just coming by themselves."
The transition back to junior was tough for the 18 year-old but ultimately, he felt it was right decision for his development. He's taken on more of a mentor-ship role with the team this year and wants to aid players entering the WHL, remembering how difficult it was for him when he began his junior career.
"It's good for me. I'm kind of more of a leader this year in Portland. I'm just trying to help out there. It's my second season but we have a really young team in Portland so just really try to help the young guys out."
Baertschi played in three pre-season tilts for the Flames before being sent back to the Winterhawks. He was chosen 13th overall in the NHL Entry Draft this summer.
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