“It was nothing I had ever experienced” Pats Connor Bedard reflects on World Junior experience

 

Following a pair of World Juniors tournaments in Edmonton that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Connor Bedard experienced a typical World Junior environment in Halifax even with an exceptional performance.

It was a record-breaking effort by Bedard. The Regina Pats forward collected nine goals and 14 assists. The most ever by a Canadian at a single tournament.

He also etched his name in the all-time Canadian record books at the World Juniors, Bedard passed former Pat, Jordan Eberle for the all-time mark for goals by a Canadian. He also became the all-time in points for Team Canada at the tournament moving past Eric Lindros on the list.

Being a member of the Canadian squad was a whirlwind experience for the 17-year old.

“We had a back-to-back with the semi-finals and the finals.” He added, “You’re taking a lot of energy with how intense those games are.”

During the holiday season, the crowd in Halifax provided Team Canada with a raucous vibe, which is something Bedard will take away from the World Juniors

“It was nuts. Every game, every goal it was crazy. It was nothing I had ever experienced.” The North Vancouver product called the crowd electric throughout the entire tournament.

It was not a smooth path for the Canadians on their way to a gold medal. The Czechia squad opened up the tournament with an upset victory over the Canadians. The likely top pick in the upcoming NHL Draft said despite dropping the first game of the tournament, the Canadian locker room remained calm.

“For us, there wasn’t any panic. Obviously we had to figure out what went wrong, but in our room we didn’t lose any confidence.”

Bedard isn’t the only member of the Pats who brought back a medal. Defenceman Stanislav Svozil earned a silver medal with Team Czechia. During the gold medal game, the Pats captain and his teammate exchanged their usual chatter.

“We were kind of joking around, he was always giving it to me, it’s kind of the same stuff we say to each other in the room or what not. ”

Bedard complimented Svozil’s effort but was happy with the overall result.

“I’m super glad they didn’t win obviously. I’m glad that he got to play in a final. ”

Playing in the gold medal final against a teammate is something that might take a few years to sink in for the 17-year old.

“We don’t look at it too much right now, but I’m sure in a few years we’ll look back and really cherish playing against each other especially at that stage.”

Svozil returned home to Czechia following the World Juniors tournament. He is expected to return to the Pats in a few days.

Bedard is set to take a couple of well-earned days off this week with Regina off until Friday night. The Pats will host their provincial rivals, the Saskatoon Blades at the Brandt Centre.

Coverage on 620 CKRM begins at 6:35, Dante De Caria will have the play-by-play at 7:00.

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