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North Van's Connor Bedard named WHL Player of the Year

The 17-year-old superstar, expected to go No. 1 overall in this year’s NHL draft, is the first WHL player to score more than 140 points in a season since 1995-‘96
Regina Pats centre Connor Bedard celebrates after one of his goals in the first period against the Victoria Royals, during their WHL game at Save on Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Nov. 26, 2022. | Adrian Lam / Times Colonist

The already impressive trophy collection for North Vancouver’s Connor Bedard got even bulkier today with the addition of a pair of Western Hockey League honours.

The 17-year-old superstar with the Regina Pats earned the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy given to the WHL’s player of the year, while also being confirmed as the winner of the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s top scorer. Bedard led the league with 71 goals and 143 points in just 57 games, while finishing tied for the league lead with 72 assists. The second highest point total was 107, set by Prince George’s Chase Wheatcroft in 68 games.

Bedard is the first WHL player to score more than 140 points in a season since Mark Deyell scored 159 in 1995-’96. Bedard also led the league with 11 game-winning goals.

“It is such an honour to win this award, and I am so proud to play in the WHL with all the amazing players, and the players that have won this award before me,” stated Bedard in a release. “I would not have been able to do this without my teammates, coaches, training staff and of course, the amazing Regina Pats fans. I would like to give a huge thank you to my family for the sacrifices they have made in helping me get to this point.”

Bedard is a deserving choice for the award, said Pats head coach and general manager John Paddock.

“There wasn’t any part of his game he didn’t excel at," he said. "He also filled every building in the Western Hockey League, making for a fantastic season.”

Bedard is widely expected to be picked first overall in the upcoming NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the NHL Draft Lottery earlier this week.

These are the latest honours in an already illustrious career for the Lynn Valley teenager. Bedard was also named tournament MVP, top forward, and a tournament all-star after helping Team Canada win the 2023 World Junior Championships in January. He ended with nine goals, 13 assists and 23 points for the tournament, setting new Canadian records for points and assists in a single world juniors. He finished nine points ahead of Logan Cooley of the U.S., who was second in the tournament with 14 points.

Bedard was named the WHL’s rookie of the year following the 2020-21 season. In March of 2020 he became the first player in WHL history to earn exceptional status, allowing him to enter the league as an underage player.