Connor Bedard

Connor Bedard explains the heartfelt, symbolic poker chip he carries with him

The Blackhawks' No. 1 pick carries a special token with him in remembrance of his late grandfather

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Connor Bedard plays for his grandfather.

Back in 2021, Bedard's grandfather, Garth, died tragically in a car accident caused by an impaired driver. He was the proudest figure of his grandson's achievements in hockey. They practiced together, played games and grew their relationship.

Now, Bedard carries around a poker chip with him in remembrance of his grandfather.

"It's a thing we all got from my grandfather when he passed," Bedard told NBC Sports Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis after being drafted by the Blackhawks on Wednesday. "Kinda remember him bye and (to) have him here with me is special, kind of a little thing I keep."

When Bedard's grandfather passed in the middle of the Regina Pats season, Connor declared he would keep playing.

“Grandpa would want me to play,” he said then, according to a story on the subject done by The Athletic.

Three nights after his grandfather's death, Bedard scored an overtime goal to beat the division-leading Brandon Wheat Kings.

“He’s definitely who I play for now and will for the rest of my life,” Connor said, via the same story. “I know he’s watching me.”

On Wednesday, Bedard would have made his grandfather proud after being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL draft. Bedard's father, Tom, was seen on the ESPN broadcast crying in the stands. His father was another tremendous help to Bedard's hockey career.

Bedard, essentially, will succeed the likes of Patrick Kane -- the first overall pick, like Bedard, in the 2007 NHL draft -- and Jonathan Toews. The two, along with a myriad of elite, vital players, won three Stanley Cups between 2010-15.

Bedard hopes to carry the torch the Blackhawks pass onto him, while he carries the metaphorical torch and literal poker chip he carries from his grandfather's legacy.

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