Connor Bedard plays last game of WHL season Friday before U18 world championship

Click to play video: 'Connor Bedard final game of WHL season'
Connor Bedard final game of WHL season
WATCH: The Regina Pats’ Connor Bedard plays his last game of the WHL season on Friday before heading home to self-isolate prior to the IIHF U18 world championship in Texas – Apr 8, 2021

Friday marks the last time rookie phenom Connor Bedard will lace up his skates for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League this season.

Following Friday’s game against the Brandon Wheat Kings, the 15-year-old will travel back home to North Vancouver to be with his family following the loss of his grandfather Garth, who was involved in a fatal car crash near Sicamous, B.C., on Tuesday.

Bedard will then travel to Frisco, Texas, after a self-isolation period and begin training camp as a member of Team Canada at the IIHF U18 world championship.

The tournament takes place from April 26 to May 6. Training camp begins on April 17.

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“I was pretty surprised. I didn’t even know that the tournament was happening until the day before, so it was a shock and just excitement,” Bedard said after hearing the news last week.

“I’ve never gotten the chance to play for my country and to be able to have that opportunity is just a dream come true for any hockey player growing up and wanting that opportunity. It’s super special.”

Bedard is second in WHL scoring behind Winnipeg Ice captain Peyton Krebs as of Friday afternoon.

In 14 games, Bedard has 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points.

“We’re going to miss him for sure – his play and the impact he has on our game. But for me, I think it’s great because it gives other players the opportunity to step up and play minutes,” said Dave Struch, Regina Pats head coach.

“(Bedard) is playing 20 minutes a night. He’s a top point guy, a top powerplay guy and those are all spots and minutes that will have to be filled.”

Heading into the season, the team knew there was a strong possibility Bedard would be selected to represent Canada.

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“As we’ve progressed through training camp and the start of the season it became clear that Connor would be in the mix for a spot on Team Canada,” said John Paddock, the Regina Pats’ VP of hockey operations and general manager.

“We’re proud of his start here and looking forward to watching him represent the Pats at U18 world championship later this month.”

Click to play video: '15-year-old Connor Bedard shows Swedish touch'
15-year-old Connor Bedard shows Swedish touch

Bedard is just the third-ever double underaged player to suit up for Team Canada in the tournament. He joins fellow Canadian Hockey League exceptional status players Connor McDavid and John Tavares.

“It’s pretty cool when you hear your name with those guys. Those are two of the best players in the world and have both accomplished so much at the highest level possible,” Bedard said.

“Knowing that, is very special and super cool to be with those guys.”

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Bedard is the only 2005-born player on Team Canada at the U18 tournament and is one of nine WHL players on the team.

His final WHL game this season be streamed on WHL Live. Game time is 4 p.m.

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