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North Van’s Connor Bedard to play for Team Canada at IIHF World Championship

Bedard is a favourite to win the Calder Trophy this year, awarded to the top rookie in the NHL
Connor Bedard had a record-setting run at last year’s World Junior Championship, where the North Vancouver centre helped lead team Canada to victory for the second-straight year. | Hockey Canada / X

While there was little hope of Chicago making the NHL playoffs this year, the team's star rookie will get a chance to shine at another tournament before the hockey season wraps up.

Connor Bedard will play for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship, running May 10 to 26 in Czechia. The 18-year-old phenom from North Vancouver announced the news at a press event on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Bedard said he was excited to play again for Canada.

“I feel like a year and a bit ago I was playing for my country every couple months,” he said. “And it’s been a while since I got that chance so I’m looking forward to that."

No stranger to international ice, Bedard has previously represented Canada four times – twice in the IIHF U18 World Championship and twice at the World Junior Championship. He won three out of those four events, including the world juniors in January 2023.

At last year’s World Juniors, Bedard was named tournament MVP and set multiple records at the tournament, including most points (23) and most assists (14) for a Canadian player.

Not skipping a beat in his debut NHL season, the five-foot-ten centre led the Blackhawks as well as other rookies in the league with 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists). That’s despite missing 14 games with a broken jaw, after taking a hit from New Jersey Devils defence player Brendan Smith at a game Jan. 5.

As a result, Bedard is a favourite to win the Calder Trophy this year, awarded to the top rookie in the NHL. That award will be announced at the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Meanwhile, there’s speculation that Bedard could be joined on Team Canada by fellow North Vancouver youth hockey star Macklin Celebrini. Earlier this month, Celebrini received the Hobey Baker Award, recognizing the top player in men’s college hockey. He won the honour at just 17 years old, making him the youngest recipient in history.