Photo: Swiss defenseman and 2013 prospect Mirco Mueller (#5), shown here competing at the 2013 CHL Top Prospects Game, will be a key player for the Swiss at the U18 WJC (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
For two years running, Switzerland’s U18 team hasn’t been able to prevent itself from winding up in relegation round play. Once there, the teams have been able to finish on top and thus, seventh overall in the tournament. This year’s team is confident it can get over that hump and it will look at the performance of its U20 team in Ufa for inspiration.
Photo: Everett Silvertips defenseman Mirco Mueller has been piling up the frequent flyer miles in the past few weeks, with his latest stop being Halifax for the Top Prospects Game (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Mirco Mueller could be excused if he is a little disorientated this week while playing at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax. Ever since the start of the 2013 calendar year, the young Swiss defenseman has spent almost as much time traveling on airplanes as he has playing hockey.
Photo: While Switzerland's success at the 2013 World Juniors was based mostly on effective team play, forward Sven Andrighetto provided offense when the team needed it (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
After last year’s trip to the relegation round, Team Switzerland managed to sneak back into the top-6 at the 2013 World Junior Championship, although this year they took a pretty unusual route to claim one of the four berths in the quarter-finals.
Photo: Highly-rated 2013 prospect Aleksander Barkov of Finland has roots in the country that is hosting the 2013 World Junior Championship, Russia (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Team Sweden is sporting the best power-play, coming in at 35.71%, while the USA tops penalty killing units at 88.24%. Interestingly enough, no team has been on the power-play more than Sweden and only Russia has been shorthanded less than the USA.
Photo: Although Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has generated a bit of offense for Russia at the 2013 WJC, he has not been the offensive force he will need to be if Russia is to take the gold medal (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For hockey fans across the globe, the preliminary round of the 2013 IIHF WJC has been just about everything anyone had ever hoped for. There’s been no lack of tension, rivalries, intrigue and background stories that have come together to make this tournament the type that fans everywhere crave.