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Calgary Flames make Swiss number one pick

Swiss junior ice hockey star Sven Baertschi has confirmed his ranking as one of the best young players in the world after being drafted in the first round by the NHL’s Calgary Flames.

The Flames made Baertschi their first choice on Friday in the NHL Entry Draft, the annual event in which each club in the world’s top professional league select the rights to sign the best young talent available.

The 18-year-old Swiss forward was 13th overall in the draft. His selection comes only one year after his teammate from the Swiss national junior team, Nino Niederreiter, was chosen 5th overall.

Baertschi impressed NHL talent scouts for his goal-getting prowess. Last year playing for the Portland Winterhawks of North America’s Western Hockey League (WHL), he led all first year players in scoring with 85 points in 66 games.

“It wasn’t easy for me . . . but with all the support I had, they made it easy for me to be away from home and play over here. For my future, it was my best decision to come here to play against the best players in my age.”

Prior to joining the WHL, Baertschi split the 2009-10 season in the Swiss Elite Junior A League and Langenthal in the B division of the Swiss National League. Baertschi also represented his home country playing for Switzerland at the Under-18 World Championships in 2009 and 2010.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR