Connor Bedard

Connor Bedard named IIHF's Male Player of the Year ahead of 2023 NHL Draft

The projected No. 1 NHL draft pick earned the inaugural award

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Connor Bedard has not even heard his name called at the 2023 NHL Draft, but the phenom continues to rack up hardware.

The International Ice Hockey Federation named Bedard its inaugural Male Player of the Year on Monday.

“This is such a huge honor,” Bedard said, via the IIHF. “I’m not sure how to compare it to others I’ve received, but it’s pretty incredible to receive this award with all the unbelievable players that have competed in the IIHF this season and the amazing players that were nominated for this award.”

The 17-year-old phenom had a spectacular year on the international stage. Bedard led Canada to two World Juniors titles over the last 10 months: the 2022 edition in Edmonton last August and the 2023 edition in Halifax this past January. He tallied 23 points in the 2023 tournament, nine more than any other player, and scored two game-winning goals during Canada’s championship run.

Bedard received 31.8% of the vote for the award, beating out Latvian goalie Arturs Silovs (19.6%), Swiss forward Andres Ambuhl (19.2%) and four other players who received votes. He was named the winner shortly after the IIHF declared American Hilary Knight the IIHF Female Player of the Year.

Bedard’s next stop is fully expected to be Chicago. The Blackhawks own the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, which commences on June 28.

Looking beyond the NHL, Bedard has already put thought into his potential teammates once he suits up for his country at the senior level.

“My dream linemates would have to be Sidney Crosby and Mathew Barzal,” he said. “Crosby has been my idol since childhood, and I know Barzal really well. I get to skate with him lots in the summers, so that would be pretty cool if we got the chance to represent Canada together one day.”

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