Connor Bedard, one of the top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft, is among the 25 players who will play for Canada at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The tournament will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton from August 9-20.
Bedard was fourth in the Western Hockey League last season with 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 62 games with Regina. The 17-year-old center (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) also led fifth-place Canada with seven points (six goals, one assist) in four games at the 2022 IIHF U-18 World Championship.
“It makes elite hockey sense, elite skill, elite everything,” said Peter Sullivan of NHL Central Scouting. “But when he gets frustrated, he’s not afraid to give it back, which is a good sign. I compared it to [Hockey Hall of Famer] Marcel Dionne since he played the same way. The boys did not want to waste time with [Dionne] because he hit them back and yet he didn’t get a lot of penalty minutes.”
Sullivan, who specializes in scouting WHL players, has vetted NHL draft prospects for the past 25 years with Central Scouting and is its longest-serving member.
“Skill-wise, it’s not only fast, but it’s two or three gears and it’s legit,” Sullivan said. “I mean, the most famous player who had five or six gears was Bobby Orr, and this is what [Bedard] has. It has a gear that can go from 1 to 60 in two seconds; He is such a special player.”
Bedard was the seventh 16-year-old to be selected to play for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championships when he was named to the squad for the 2022 tournament when it was originally held in December. He was joined by Wayne Gretzky (1978), Eric Lindros (1989), Jason Spezza (2000), Jay Bouwmeester (2000), sidney crosby (2004) and Connor McDavid (2014) on that list. In two games, Bedard scored five points (four goals, one assist), including a hat-trick in an 11–2 win against Austria. He was the first 16-year-old to score a hat-trick for Canada in the WJC since Gretzky did it twice in 1977.
The 2022 tournament was postponed after four days of play when the United States, Czechia and Russia had to forfeit a preliminary round game after players tested positive for COVID-19. The results of the December games will not be counted when the tournament restarts.
Bedard is one of 16 players returning to Canada from the December tournament. Among that group is Anaheim Ducks prospect mctavish mason, who had five points (two goals, three assists) in two games in December. McTavish was named tournament captain on Tuesday. Forward Kent Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets) and defense Donovan Sebrango (Detroit Red Wings) were named alternate captains
Canada will open preliminary round play in Pool A against Latvia on August 10 (6 pm ET). They will also play Slovakia on August 11 (6 pm ET), Czechia on August 13 (6 pm ET) and Finland on August 15 (6 pm ET).
The United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Austria will play in Group B.
All WJC 2022 games will be televised on the NHL Network in the United States.
CANADA JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SQUAD
DEFENDERS: Lucas CormierCharlottetown, QMJHL (Golden Knights of Vegas); demon huntingmoose jaw, WHL (Minnesota Wild); carson lambosWinnipeg, WHL (Minnesota Wild); Ryan O’Rourke, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Wild Minnesota); Donovan Sebrango, Grand Rapids, AHL (Detroit Red Wings); Ronan SeeleyEverett, WHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Jack ThompsonSault Ste. Marie, OHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Olen ZellwegerEverett, WHL (Anaheim Ducks)
FORWARD: Connor Bedard, Regina, WHL (2023 draft eligible); William CuylleWindsor, OHL (New York Rangers); elliot desnoyersHalifax, QMJHL (Philadelphia Flyers); William DufourSaint John, QMJHL (New York Islanders); Tyson FoersterBarrie, OHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Nathan GaucherQuebec, QMJHL (Anaheim Ducks); Ridly GreigBrandon, WHL (Ottawa Senators); Kent JohnsonColumbus Blue Jackets; riley kidney, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL (Montreal Canadiens); Mason McTavish, Hamilton, OHL (Anaheim Ducks); Zack OstapchukVancouver, WHL (Ottawa Senators); Brennan OttomanFlint, OHL (New York Rangers); Joshua RoySherbrooke, QMJHL (Montreal Canadians); logan stankovenKamloops, WHL (Dallas Stars)