PORTLAND - Portland Winterhawks forward Sven Bartschi is just 19 years old and more than 5,000 miles from his native Switzerland.
However, he is right at home on the ice rink here in Portland as one of the leaders of the Hawks.
“Sven is a type of player that, he's a game breaker,"Winterhawks Head Coach Mike Johnston said. “He can break the game open with his skill. "If you give him a couple of chances he will bury them.”
Bartschi scored 33 goals during the regular season and scored 94 points in just 47 Western Hockey League games this season. In fact, he was voted the Winterhawks Most Valuable Player by his teammates.
How do you top that? How about a week in the National Hockey League with the Calgary Flames.
Earlier this month, Calgary was hit with a rash of injuries, so they called up Bartschi to help for a week and he scored three goals in five games in the NHL.
“Well it was awesome,” says Bartschi. “A great experience and I think just a great learning process. It was just an exciting time. Not just for me, for my family too.”
Bartschi scored his first NHL goal in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild at Minnesota in just his second game.
“Definitely, something really special,” said Bartschi , adding that his second NHL goal was one to remember too.
“The next goal I scored when we were back in Calgary with the whole crowd of 20,000 people,” says Bartschi. “ Everybody was cheering, so it was really special.”
The Flames won that game 3-2 in Overtime. Now, Bartschi is back in Portland with a big boost of confidence to his game.
The Winterhawks won their first two playoff games with Kelowna this last weekend and Bartschi had four assists. This year’s hawks team has a legitimate shot at winning the Memorial Cup, the Championship of Junior Hockey.
“I think we have a great group,” says Sven, “there’s a lot of things possible, yeah, it’s in our hands now.” Yes, many more games and memories to come.