Just a few days after Connor Bedard was knocked out of the game with a fractured jaw, team doctors announced a heartbreaking recovery timeline. With an expected stint of six to eight weeks, Bedard wouldn’t be healthy in time to play in his first All-Star Game, for which he was nominated as the youngest player in NHL history.
Though traditional practice in years past has been to allow another Blackhawks skater to attend the All-Star Game in Bedard’s place, the rookie superstar was instead replaced by Vincent Trochek of the Rangers. The decision was a reasonable one – while Jason Dickinson and Petr Mrazek certainly made a case to represent their team, the players sent instead have certainly enjoyed better seasons thus far.
On Wednesday, though, Sherwood Hockey announced that our favorite young Blackhawk will be making an appearance on All-Star Weekend after all. Bedard is set to perform a shooting demonstration and more at Maple Leaf Square on Saturday morning.
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Bedard not being included in the All-Star Game is a tough break for both his rookie year and the NHL as a whole. As the game’s next superstar and “future of hockey”, Bedard’s injury was the league’s worst nightmare. While Bedard will undoubtedly have many more All-Star appearances throughout his career, it’s disappointing that he wasn’t able to become the youngest player in NHL history to play in the game.
Nevertheless, it’s great news that Bedard can make an appearance in front of hockey fans in Toronto, and he’ll be able to experience much of what the weekend has to offer and meet the game’s biggest stars. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if we see plenty of content featuring the 18-year-old on a national stage, even if he isn’t in the game.
The news of Bedard’s participation in the event is doubly good news – Bedard may be closer to a full recovery than initially expected. His six to eight-week timeline meant he’d be available in mid-to-late February, but if Bedard is already participating in a shooting demonstration and competition, he may be available to the Blackhawks shortly after the All-Star break ends.
It seems Blackhawks fans got their wish after all. Though Bedard won’t be participating in the All-Star Game or Skills Challenge, he’ll still be included among the game’s biggest stars, representing the Blackhawks and the league.