Connor Bedard: How He Turned Family Loss Into Motivation

Published May 14, 2023 at 2:25
BY DYLAN ROBILLARD
     
There has been a lot of buzz around the projected No. 1 pick, Connor Bedard. As he looks to be a Chicago Blackhawk at the NHL Draft this summer.

A lot of people only know Connor Bedard, as a player and not as much of an individual. Dan Robson at The Athletic wrote about Bedard's family before the Blackhawks won the draft lottery on Monday. It's a story about bonding and loss, and how Bedard is close to his roots. Doing everything for his family, and always being thankful.

Connor Bedard's grandfather, Garth, was in the logging business. Sadly, on April 6, 2021, Garth died in a car accident when an impaired driver collided with him on the way home from work.

This story is crushing to read, but also very heartwarming to see how the family was able to remain strong together through incredible loss.


As Tom and Madisen [Connor's parents] pulled out of the driveway, the phone rang again. Melanie answered. It was John Paddock, the president and general manager of the Regina Pats. An officer at the scene of the crash recognized Garth's name and knew of his relation to the underage phenom playing in Saskatchewan. Knowing that the news would quickly spread across social media, the officer contacted the Pats office.

The Pats were scheduled to play the Swift Current Broncos that night. The family and Paddock agreed that it was best to wait until after the game to tell Connor about his grandfather's death.

But first, Tom had to navigate their pregame routine. Connor calls his father a few hours before every game. Regardless of where Tom is, he always asks his son the same question, and Connor answers the same way. The exact words remain a private bond between them. Tom steeled himself as he and Madisen drove down the forest-lined highway. When Connor called, Tom held steady, going through their usual routine.

While Connor got dressed in the Pats locker room, a staff member slipped his phone out of his stall so he couldn't check social media. Connor scored two goals and added two assists, earning first star honors in Regina's 6-1 win.

After the game, Paddock and coach Dave Struch brought Connor into an office where Tom, Melanie and Madisen had called in on speakerphone. The team booked Connor a flight at 6 a.m. the next day so he could join his family, but Connor balked. There was a game later that week and he intended to be there.

«Grandpa would want me to play,» he said.

Three nights later, Connor scored an overtime goal to beat the division-leading Brandon Wheat Kings. As his Pats teammates swarmed the ice, Connor pumped his right fist and pointed to the sky. His eyes welled as he spoke about his grandfather to the media via Zoom afterward.

«He's definitely who I play for now and will for the rest of my life,» Connor said. «I know he's watching me.»

You can read the entire story here (highly recommend):

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Connor Bedard: How He Turned Family Loss Into Motivation

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