‘He is unbelievable’: Bedard is popping heads as soon as once more at Canada’s world junior camp

Connor Bedard’s spotlight reel is tough to overlook.

Already the projected first general choose within the 2023 NHL draft, the 17-year-old phenom with a bullet shot and skill to make the puck appear to be he is on a string — typically leaving defensemen chasing shadows and goaltenders wanting silly — took his sport to new heights this season.

Movies of his jaw-dropping abilities are flooding social media, seemingly on a near-daily foundation. And when Bedard takes middle stage with Canada on the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship later this month, there’ll virtually definitely be extra viral clips.

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His exploits have already entered the NHL dialog.

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“We have had guys within the Kings dressing room speaking about him, ‘You get to play with Bedard Child,'” stated Canadian defender Model Clarke, who was loaned to the lads’s nationwide under-20 staff by Los Angeles for the event.

“I will not identify anybody.”

So, was Kings defenseman and famous hockey geek Drew Doughty the teammate in query?

“(He) stated that, truly,” Clark, 19, stated with fun. “(Bedard) already has that recognition.”

For good purpose.

The silky clean middle from North Vancouver, BC has taken it to the subsequent stage this season, placing up a 51-goal, 100-point efficiency at age 16 for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats in 2021-22.

Bedard was stored off the scoresheet in Regina’s opener, however has scored 27 instances and added 37 assists as a part of a 27-game level streak.

Bedard had 5 factors in an 8-2 win final weekend earlier than becoming a member of Canada within the Dec. 26 World Juniors opener in Halifax and Moncton, which will probably be on the lookout for a twentieth gold medal.

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Canadian World Junior hopeful and Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Thomas Milik was requested about Bedard’s shot.

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This season marked his first time within the WHL.

“It is lovely, lovely, excellent,” the 19-year-old stated with a smile. “There is a image on-line the place the shot was taken and I am nonetheless on the lookout for it and that is advantageous by me.

“Hopefully it will not be broadcast an excessive amount of.”

Throughout an on-ice session in Moncton, a easy rush drill noticed Bedard effortlessly acquire a wayward cross between his legs with out leaving the puck on his stick — certainly one of numerous delicate moments that appear bizarre, however definitely aren’t.

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Shane Wright, the Seattle Kraken’s No. 4 choose within the 2022 draft, stated Bedard’s teammates have been wonderful.

“Such an excellent participant, however you by no means know,” stated the 18-year-old centre, who was additionally loaned to Canada for the event. “Such a down-to-earth man and such a enjoyable man to be round.

“He takes care of himself and takes care of his sport. We see the expertise on the ice, we see the strikes he makes and all of the clips, however there’s a lot that he does off digital camera — behind the scenes — that makes him so good and so profitable. It’s unbelievable. “

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One in all 10 returning gamers from Canada’s gold-medal-winning roster, which gained the reimagined August World Juniors, final yr’s occasion was pushed again eight months by a sequence of Covid-19 outbreaks, with Bedard working onerous to earn a 12-month spot. beforehand

However he took nothing as a right.

“All the time have to come back in with that tryout mentality,” stated Bedard, the primary participant to play within the WHL at 15. “Nonetheless attempting to show myself and present everybody right here what I can do.”

What he is finished over time — Bedard even traveled to Sweden to coach and scout video games after the WHL ceased operations — is a drive and willpower that displays his expertise.

“A participant who wowed us final Christmas, a participant who wowed us over the summer time,” stated James Boyd, a member of Canada’s administration group. “He has the flexibility to alter the sport. The nice factor is that he’s an excellent participant now.”

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Peterborough Petes’ Brennan Othman is about for the primary World Junior choice camp

Director of gamers Alan Miller stated the subsequent step is honing his sport with out the puck.

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“Once you get into these key video games, matchups are vital,” Miller stated. “A criminal offense and a talent, everyone knows. However I believe you may see a younger man whose sport has matured and is extra full.”

Whereas this is a vital difficulty, Bedard is doing his greatest to maintain the draft debate at arms size.

“You are so targeted on successful,” he stated. “It is an outdoor noise. I am very targeted on the Pats’ depth and right here with Staff Canada.

“It’s extremely simple to dam that stuff.”

Adam Fantilly, a freshman ahead on the College of Michigan, is predicted to be within the dialog for the No. 2 spot within the draft, and Bedard is a good friend of the ice.

The pair watched the Regina sport on Friday when Fantilly could not get Michigan State vs. Michigan on his laptop computer.

“Good man,” Fantilly stated.

“It is form of humorous when folks pit us in opposition to one another,” Bedard added. “We joked about it a bit, however we’re each having fun with one another and now we’re on the identical staff.”

Hockey’s subsequent large expertise — Bedard has been in comparison with Connor McDavid due to what he can do to alter the way forward for NHL franchises — is simply getting began.

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And already an enormous speaking level within the sport.

“He is as marketed,” Clark stated. “He is so good with the puck, his launch is unbelievable.

“I am actually wanting ahead to the remainder of his profession.”

The subsequent step is to strive for an additional gold on dwelling soil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed on December 10, 2022.

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