Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and … Connor Bedard.
That’s the entire list of 16-year-old players who have ever earned a spot on Team Canada for the world under-20 men’s hockey championships. North Vancouver native Bedard added his name to that illustrious list over the weekend, earning one of 25 coveted spots on the team for the world junior championships, to be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.
"It's pretty crazy to hear myself with those guys," Bedard said. "Dreaming of playing in this tournament, getting the opportunity at the age I'm at is pretty special."
Bedard has already proven that he can thrive against older players. He is the first player ever to be granted exceptional status in the Western Hockey League, and was named the 2020-'21 WHL Rookie of the Year after recording 28 points in 16 games last season. Earlier this year, Bedard starred as a “double-underage” player for Canada at the IIHF U-18 World Championships, where he co-led Canada in scoring with 14 points in seven games, helping the team win gold.
He’s not the only player with North Shore ties headed to the world juniors. Port Moody native Kent Johnson, who played minor hockey for the North Shore Winter Club, also made the cut. You can see the full roster here.
Canada will open the tournament against the Czech Republic on Boxing Day, then complete the preliminary round with games against Austria on Dec. 28, Germany on Dec. 29, and Finland on Dec. 31.