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WHL phenom Connor Bedard’s grandfather dies in BC car crash

It’s been a dream-like start to Connor Bedard’s WHL career, but the last 24 hours have been a nightmare.

On Tuesday, the 15-year-old phenom scored two more goals and added a pair of assists in the Regina Pats 6-1 win over the Swift Current Broncos.

It put him back into the WHL’s scoring lead with 10 goals and 26 points in just 14 games.

That achievement took a distant backseat to some tragic news, however, as his grandfather, 73-year-old Garth Bedard, died on Tuesday afternoon.

He was one of two people killed in a multi-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous.

“We know how close Connor was with his grandfather, who was one of Connor’s biggest fans,” said a statement from the Pats released this morning.

“Garth was incredibly proud of Connor and took great joy in his grandson’s passion for hockey and even more so in the person he has become.”

Bedard was already scheduled to leave the Pats on April 12 to begin self-isolating before heading to Texas to represent Team Canada at the U18 World Championships.

Now, he’ll head home on April 10 to spend time with family before joining his Canadian teammates later this month.

Bedard was the first player to ever gain exceptional status for eligibility in the WHL, which allows him to play Major Junior hockey full time as a 15-year-old.

Although he’s the first player to do so out west, he follows in the footsteps of Connor McDavid, John Tavares and Aaron Ekblad, who were all granted exceptional status in the OHL.

The 15-year-old is off to a historic start, rolling with a points per game average of 1.86 through his first 14 WHL games.

It’s a small sample size, but in comparison, McDavid and Tavares had 1.05 and 1.18 points per game respectively in their 15-year-old seasons.

While it’s incredibly tragic that Garth won’t get to see Bedard’s career unfold, he did get to witness his grandson’s incredible first 14 games, as well as his selection to Canada’s U18 team at just 15 years of age.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of the Regina Pats.

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