Local Sports Journal
Muskegon Lumberjack defenseman Rasmus Bengtsson has made Team Sweden’s preliminary roster for the 2013 IIHF Under-20 World Championship.
Bengtsson, a draft pick of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, will be leaving to head back to Sweden on Sunday to prepare for camp that begins on Dec. 14. The tournament will take place in Ufa, Russia from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.
“It is always an honor to represent your country and be able to wear your country’s colors proudly. It will also be good to go home and visit with friends and family,” Bengtsson said. “This tournament is a big deal to the team, as well as the community of Sweden and we are ready for the challenge. We have to make this tournament a memorable one because, for me, this is the last time I will get to participate in a junior tournament with some of my (Swedish) teammates that I grew up playing with.”
Sweden will attempt to defend its golf medal from last year when it defeated Russia 1-0 i overtime to win the gold medal i Alberta, Canada.
Other countries participating in the tournament will be Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Russia, Canada, Slovakia, Germany and the United States.
“We are very excited to see Rasmus go and participate on the biggest of the stages in front of a national audience,” said Lumberjack coach Jim McKenzie. “We know he will represent the Lumberjacks organization and USHL proudly. Having Rasmus being represented in this tournament is a great reflection on the type of talent that the Muskegon Lumberjacks and USHL as a whole bring forth every year.”
Bengtsson also participated for Team Sweden in last August’s Under-20 Three Nations Tournament in Lake Placid with Finland and three teams representing the United States. Sweden won that tournament as well.
“We are very proud and honored to see Rasmus (Bengtsson) represent his native country of Sweden and the Muskegon Lumberjacks in such a prestigious tournament,” said Lumberjacks wwner, CEO and general manager Josh Mervis. “The Muskegon Lumberjacks are a place that players can come to develop their world class talents so they can showcase it down the road for future opportunities.”
This season, Bengtsson has seven assists in 17 games played with the Lumberjacks.