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Connor Bedard impressed with Estevan and Affinity Place

Bedard scored two goals in a Regina Pats victory, and left Estevan impressed with the city.
Pats Broncos Preseason pic 1
The Regina Pats faced the Swift Current Broncos in a WHL preseason game Tuesday night in Estevan.

ESTEVAN - Connor Bedard dazzled local hockey fans Tuesday night at Affinity Place, scoring twice and showcasing the skills that have made him the projected top selection for next year’s NHL Entry Draft.

But Bedard came away impressed with Estevan and Affinity Place.

Bedard and the Regina Pats defeated the Swift Current Broncos 4-2 in a Western Hockey League preseason game in Estevan. He scored a short-handed goal midway through the second period that tied the game, and then he scored the winning goal on a one-time shot from the point early in the third period.

A large crowd turned out to watch the game.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming out, and it’s cool with the atmosphere and the rink is super nice, too,” said Bedard.

It was his first time in the Energy City.

“The fans were loud and they were into it, so it was exciting,” said Bedard.

Bedard believes the turning point in Tuesday night’s game was a five-minute power play the Pats killed off in the second period.

It’s been a busy summer for Bedard. He helped Canada win the gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton. The tournament started last year but had to be halted after a few days due to concerns over COVID-19. It was restarted in August.

Playing at a high level gave him a head start heading into training camp.

“You’re playing with and against some of the best kids in the world, so you can learn a lot. It’s super competitive, so it’s good to get those games in for sure.”

Canada defeated Finland 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game.

“It’s a dream come true for any kid growing up, I think, and for that to happen was pretty crazy and definitely super special,” said Bedard.

Bedard said he isn’t feeling the pressure of being the projected top pick in next year’s draft.

“I set expectations for myself and for the team, and that’s always going to come first,” said Bedard.

They have a lot of players coming back from last year’s team, and he hopes they’ll be able to make the playoffs.

Bedard had 51 goals and 49 assists for 100 points in 62 games, even though he was only 16.  And he was the first athlete to be granted exceptional player status to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old.

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