Connor Bedard named to Team Canada U18 roster

The youngest member of the Regina Pats will be representing Team Canada at the IIHF U18 Hockey Championships.

Connor Bedard, who is currently leading the WHL in points, will wear the maple leaf for the first time in his career with the national team in Frisco, TX, from April 26 to May 6.

“I’ve never gotten the chance to play for my country and to be able to have that opportunity is just a dream come true for any hockey player growing up and wanting that opportunity,” Bedard said. “It’s super special.”

Bedard becomes just the third double underage to play for Canada at the U18 tournament, joining an elite group including Connor McDavid and John Tavares.

“It’s pretty cool when you hear your name with those guys. Those are two of the best players in the world and have both accomplished so much at the highest level possible. Knowing that is very special and super cool to be with those guys,” Bedard said.

Pats GM and VP of Hockey Operations John Paddock wasn’t surprised Bedard will representing Canada at the national level.

“Even at the start of the season we knew this was a possibility. As we’ve progressed through training camp and the start of the season it became clear that Connor would be in the mix for a spot on Team Canada. We’re proud of his start here and looking forward to watching him represent the Pats at U18 World Championship later this month,” Paddock said.

The North Vancouver, BC product found out he’d been named to Team Canada ahead of the Pats 3-2 OT win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday.

“I was pretty surprised. I didn’t even know that the tournament was happening until the day before, so it was a shock and just excitement,” Bedard said.

So far, Bedard has eight goals and 11 assists in just 10 games. His last game with the Pats will be on Apr. 9 against the Brandon Wheat Kings. Team Canada is required to self-isolate at home starting Apr. 12 in preparation for their first team practice on Apr. 17 in Texas.

Davidson’s Nolan Allan, a defenseman with the Prince Albert Raiders, and Regina’s Cole Sillinger, a member of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, are the only players from Saskatchewan on the U18 roster.