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Former Calgary Flames forward Sven Baertschi retires
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
According to a report from an outlet in Switzerland, a past Calgary Flames first-rounder may be calling it a career. Per an article from Gregory Beaud from Blick, forward Sven Baertschi, the Flames’ top pick in 2011, has decided to conclude his playing career.
Baertschi and his club team, SC Bern, have since confirmed the news.
Translated from French via Google Translate, here’s the first chunk of Beaud’s report:
As ice training is about to resume across the country, major news has disrupted CP Bern’s recovery. According to our information, Sven Bärtschi has indeed decided to put an end to his career. The striker with 292 NHL matches was however benefiting from a contract until the end of the 2024/2025 season with the Bears. Contacted, the SCB declined to comment.
A product of Bern, Switzerland, Baertschi tore up Swiss junior hockey and joined the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks as an import in 2010. He tore up that league and that led to his first-round selection by the Flames. He joined the Flames for five games as an emergency recall in 2011-12, something that in hindsight might have been the worst thing for his development – Baertschi was mentioned at one point as the successor for Jarome Iginla as face of the franchise by then-general manager Jay Feaster in an interview.
The remainder of Baertschi’s stint with the Flames featured three seasons of bouncing between the NHL and AHL. In the AHL, he was a consistently effective offensive player (but wasn’t quite dominant). In the NHL, the defensive details of his game drew the ire of coaches and management, with then-president of hockey operations Brian Burke commenting at one point that Baertschi was only effective in one of three zones on the ice.
Eventually, Baertschi requested a trade and was sent to Vancouver in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick that the Flames used to select Rasmus Andersson. Soon Baertschi found his footing as a middle-six winger in Vancouver and seemed to have carved out a niche, but a concussion suffered early in the 2018-19 (along with a bumpy recovery period through post-concussion issues) saw him lose his footing in Vancouver and slide down their depth chart upon his return to action.
He finished out his final Canucks contract in the AHL, then spent a season with Vegas’ AHL team before returning to Switzerland for the 2022-23 season to play with his hometown team, SC Bern.
Update: In a statement, Baertschi has formally announced his retirement, citing health reasons:
“Today I am announcing my retirement as a professional ice hockey player with mixed feelings. It’s a painful decision. Ice hockey is a sport that demands everything from the body. Like most players, I’ve had a number of injuries that are now taking their toll. After months of training, I realized that my body can no longer perform as well as I need it to. And playing with less than 100 percent, I can’t accept that.“
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