HENDERSON, Nev. -- Connor Bedard had a chance to mingle with some of the League’s superstars during the NHL North American Player Media Tour on Tuesday.
But without a doubt, the biggest highlight for the 18-year-old Chicago Blackhawks forward was the opportunity to talk with the player he called his idol: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby.
“Of course, my childhood idol in the hockey world and is such a good, genuine guy,” Bedard told NHL.com. “For me to kind of spend some time with him and learn about him, the way he kind of handles himself and everything, has been great for me.”
The meeting between Bedard, No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, and Crosby, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, was captured in photos by the Blackhawks and Penguins while each player was waiting to do some one-ice video captures at America First Center, which is the practice facility of the Vegas Golden Knights’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Later in day, Bedard discussed the meeting with Crosby and the idea that their next meeting could come on opening night, when Chicago visits Pittsburgh on Oct. 10 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+).
“That would be awesome,” Bedard said. “I try not to think about it too much right now, [I’m focused] on training camp and everything leading up. But if I was there and playing against him and that team, obviously it’s a pretty legendary group with him and (Evgeni) Malkin and (Kris) Letang, (Erik) Karlsson of course. That would be pretty special.”
Bedard is expected to be pretty special himself.
Perhaps the most-hyped draft prospect since Connor McDavid, who was selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and Crosby himself, Bedard is already being looked at as the new face of the Blackhawks, who are entering a season without franchise stalwarts Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews for the first time since 2007-08.