That was a big opportunity for me back then and I wasn’t able to go. Of course it’s tough that we lost out with Abby and of course I wish I was playing here still but it’s another opportunity for me. - Sven Baertschi
CALGARY, AB -- The opportunity escaped Sven Baertschi a year ago. He jumped when it presented itself again.
After an injury forced the Abbotsford Heat forward from competing in 2013, Baertschi will join Switzerland this year at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus from May 9-25.
“I mean, it’s special,” said Baertschi, who departs for Minsk on Monday. “I’m really excited about it. I missed it one year ago. I couldn’t go because of a little injury that I had. That was a big opportunity for me back then and I wasn’t able to go. Of course it’s tough that we lost out with Abby and of course I wish I was playing here still but it’s another opportunity for me.
“It was sad that time because I wanted to go really bad. Now it’s here, the opportunity is here again. I’m very excited. It’s something different. I haven’t really been a part of the Men’s World Championship. I’ve only played the World Junior Championship. It’s a challenge for me personally.”
The tournament will also feature Baertschi’s introduction to Brad Treliving, who was minted as the new Flames general manager last Monday. Treliving is serving as part of Hockey Canada’s management group for the event.
It won’t be the first time the two have spoken, though.
“He called me [Sunday],” the 21-year-old Baertschi said. “We talked. Of course he was excited that I get a shot there and I think he’s excited to see me. I’m definitely going to catch up with him when I get there. It’ll be the first time I meet him. We’ll have a little chat.
“Right now, he’s on a different team than me. He’s with Team Canada, right? Right now, we’re not that tight, I would say. I’m going to be excited because he’s going to be around there and see a lot of games. For me, it’s an opportunity to show what I’ve got right away. I’m excited about it.”
But Baertschi, who spent the remainder of the season with the Heat after then GM Jay Feaster was relieved of his duties in December, isn’t at the Worlds to impress his new boss.
Instead, he’s simply going for himself.
“In the end, I’m going there for me,” said Baertschi, who had 13 goals and 29 points in 41 regular season games with the Heat. “That’s the one thing. The only thing that is important for me is to go over there and play hockey and play hockey the way I can. The rest will show. He’s going to have his own opinion about me and the only thing I can do is play as good as I can. That’s it for me.
“In the end, he’s going to form his opinion of me. I’ve got a chance to show him early. Afterwards, it’s going to be training camp. It’s a big chance for me right now that I can show him something.
“In the end, whenever you get an opportunity to show something, then you have to bring it. This is an opportunity now. I’m going to a different country, I’m able to play on a different team and for me, I think it’s important that I do well and I can show off.”
Baertschi will have more than just Treliving to impress, though.
He’ll join fellow Flames Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler and Mikael Backlund in the tournament.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I might be able to play against Monahan (in exhibition) [Monday] night so for me, it’s exciting because I was his linemate in Calgary for a while. Even Hudler, he was my linemate for a while and Backlund was my linemate. I’m not too familiar with Gaudreau, but I’m definitely excited to see what they’ve got there in him.
“In the end, it’s always good for the organization if you have a lot of guys going to Worlds. If you have a few guys that can go somewhere, that speaks volumes for the organization.”