At twelve years old he was already there NHL-An ice professional, he was already considered the “future of ice hockey” when he was a young teenager. Connor Bedard has been playing in the North American professional league of the NHL for a few weeks and proves that the hype surrounding him has not been in vain.
He is only 1.78 meters tall and could therefore go unnoticed in the crowd. But as soon as Connor Bedard steps on the ice, the 18-year-old stands out Chicago Blackhawks out of here. That skating technique – and especially those hands. His wrist movements are so quick that opponents, even the most experienced NHL professionals, don’t know whether he will pass or shoot the puck.
“He’s an amazing talent. It’s fun to train with him and be on the ice with him. Then you see how hard he works and why he’s so good,” says Lukas Reichel in an interview with Sportschau. The German international is Bedard’s teammate in Chicago, is three years older and has already played nearly 50 NHL games. Normally it’s the newcomer to the league who takes cues from a pro like Reichel. But in Bedard’s case nothing is normal.
Compared to Crosby and McDavid at 13 years old
Bedard had just turned twelve when he was home in Vancouver for the first time with NHL players like Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers of Edmonton) during summer training on the ice. “Back then I was still the annoying kid”recalls Bedard.
Since he was 14 he trained every day. That’s when Bedard got his first impression of the intensity and speed with which he plays the NHL.
Published November 2018 “Hockey News” an article about him titled: “Meet the future of hockey, 13-year-old Connor Bedard.” Never before had the renowned trade magazine portrayed such a young player. Bedard was described as the “next thing” and advisers, it was said, were already “knocking on his door”. And yes, he has also been compared to Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid: welcome to Canada.
With outstanding status in the junior league
Now it must be said that in the homeland of ice hockey there are countless great talents every year. But this Connor Bedard was not just one of the many talents of the time. No, he was THE Talent. By far the best of all, in all years.
And that’s why at 15 he was allowed to play in the National Junior League with an exemption from the Canadian Ice Hockey Association. As a “exceptional status” previously it had only been granted to six other young people. Normally the minimum age for junior championships is 16 years old.
71 goals, 72 assists in 57 games
Bedard played for them Regina Pats In the Western Hockey League, at 15 he sometimes met players who were already 20 years old. However, he played exceptionally well. Last season he scored 71 goals and prepared another 72, in just 57 games.
It would certainly have been humane if this Connor Bedard had gotten nervous with all the headlines, huge media interest or public attention. If he at some point couldn’t resist the pressure of becoming the projected next Canadian hockey superstar. But the attacker finds everything “beautiful and very interesting.”
Chicago lottery win
The fact that Bedard was selected first in the talent pool at the end of June was as predictable as Bayern Munich winning the German football championship. The Chicago Blackhawks had the first pick out of 32 teams: it was equivalent to winning the lottery. Just twelve hours after the draft, the historic club recorded an income of five million dollars from the sale of season tickets for the new season.
The fact that such a talent is now playing for a club as famous as the Blackhawks, in a media market as large as Chicago, is also a win for the league and broadcasters. In the season opener on October 10, the Blackhawks faced the Pittsburgh Penguins about their captain Sidney Crosby.
More symbolic Generational change
The media celebrated the “Sid vs the Kid” duel and spoke of a sort of symbolic generational change. Crosby was considered an exceptional talent in 2005 as Bedard is today. But Crosby, who beat Pittsburgh three times Stanley Cupvictory and led Canada to Olympic gold twice, he is now 36 years old.
Bedard’s debut was a success not only for the newcomer, who collected his first NHL point with an assist in the 4-2 victory, but also for “ESPN“. The television station averaged 1.43 million viewers. Never before had so many fans tuned into an “ESPN” game in the NHL’s points bracket.
Reichel: “Sometimes I think: ‘poor boy'”
The next day, Bedard scored his first NHL goal in Boston. Around 25 representatives of the American and Canadian media then crowded around him in the locker room. Lukas Reichel watched everything from a few meters away. “Sometimes I think to myself: ‘poor boy’. Lots of press, lots of interviews for him. But he’s doing really well.”He said.
Connor Bedard played 14 games. He has amazed and enchanted many, he is the top scorer with nine goals and he is also the most successful point scorer on the team with 13 points. And, as people sometimes forget due to his actions, he is only 18 years old.