‘I love it here.’: Connor Bedard reflects on historic run with Regina Pats

All great things must come to an end.

‘i love it here.’: connor bedard reflects on historic run with regina pats

Connor Bedard has unofficially played his last game as a Regina Pat after losing in Game 7 to the Saskatoon Blades.

“It’s sad no matter what,” Bedard said at his potentially last press conference as a Pat. “I’m not sure of the future or anything. So, kind of just saying my thank yous to everyone, whether or not I’ll be back next year.”

And while Bedard technically has two years of eligibility left in the WHL, the superstar is projected by most to go number one in the NHL draft and continue his career in the big leagues.

“I’ve had so much fun these last three years here whether there’s more or not,” Bedard said when reflecting on his time in the Queen City. “I love it here. I’m so grateful that I got to play here.”

Bedard had one of the most explosive offensive careers the WHL has seen during its storied history.

Through 141 games played during his WHL career, Bedard scored 144 goals and a total of 291 points.

In the 2022-23 season alone, Bedard had one for the record books.

He led the WHL in multiple categories including goals with 71, points with 142 and assists with 72. He also led the way in shots on goal with 360, points per-game at 2.51, goals per-game at 1.24, and finished tied for first in game-winning-goals with 11.

All while only playing 57 games.

Bedard entered the league as the only WHL player to ever be given exceptional status allowing him to play at the age of 14.

“My main thing coming in, I wanted the guys to like me. I wanted to be a kid that people respect and try to make an impact on the ice.”

Fast forward to 2023, and just moments before his final press conference as a Pat, Bedard was announced as the WHL East Division Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

“Maturity wise, I’ve grown a lot,” he said when asked about how he has changed since he entered the league — something his head coach Jon Paddock echoed.

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“It’s hard to describe him,” Padock said. “He has just gotten better. He was always mature. Always a hard worker. But we really saw, especially in the last half of the year, a step up in speaking up and speaking out.”

Outside of a Pats uniform, Bedard’s junior career has been just as impressive.

Bedard now sits as the all-time leader in points for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship as well as the Canadian leader in goals. He also holds the record for most points at a single tournament which he showcased at the 2023 outing.

Mix in two gold medals wearing a Team Canada jersey, and Bedard has himself quite the trophy case at just the age of 17.

“The people I got to play with and learn from and everything has been so great,” Bedard said.

‘i love it here.’: connor bedard reflects on historic run with regina pats
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Canada’s Connor Bedard carries the IIHF Championship Cup while celebrating winning over Czechia at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese. TXB

Now all Bedard can do is sit and wait to see which team calls out his name on draft night.

But the kid has stayed humble through it all.

“No one knows who is going number one,” he said. “For the (draft) lottery, I will watch it as a fan and if I am fortunate enough to go number one overall, that’s awesome. But there are so many great players in this draft.”

But something he will always remember from his time in the WHL, was spending time with kids hoping to one day be the next great hockey player, just as he once did.

“You see kids looking up to you and it’s pretty special,” Bedard said. “It really makes you think about when you were a kid in those same situations.”

“There’s just so much pride wearing that jersey. It’s been so much fun these last three years.”

‘i love it here.’: connor bedard reflects on historic run with regina pats
1:53 Saskatoon Blades eliminate Regina Pats in historic WHL playoff matchup

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