Before Connor Bedard had laced up his skates for a common time activity, the 18-yr-previous hockey phenom experienced by now induced a surge in the Chicago Blackhawks’ time ticket gross sales. He experienced lovers talking about a return to glory for a group that had fallen on tricky times. And he was drawing audacious comparisons to some of the sport’s greatest stars.

When he scored the to start with aim of his vocation Oct. 11, a graphic was exhibited on the television broadcast that bordered on parody.

Chasing greatness

Vocation Objectives

Gretzky: 894

Bedard: 1

Chicago Tribune Sporting activities


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“He’s dealing with it so nicely,” Taylor Corridor, a teammate of Bedard’s, informed reporters past 7 days. “He doesn’t feel to be fazed by it. But it can be a little significantly for him at instances.

“He doesn’t say that, but it feels like it is.”

It will be yrs ahead of everyone knows if comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, hockey’s all-time major scorer, had been apt, but Bedard, who has amazed several in the Blackhawks’ sluggish start off, will have an undeniable impression on the glimpse of game titles in Chicago, where by his No. 98 jersey has already achieved ubiquity.

A Chicago Blackhawks fan attends Sunday's game wearing a replica of Connor Bedard's No. 98 jersey, at United Center in Chicago, Oct. 21, 2023.

Just ahead of the period began, the NHL announced that Bedard had the game’s bestselling jersey because the day he was drafted in June — when he was however only 17 — and that was fairly apparent at the United Heart in Chicago on Saturday when the Blackhawks held their property opener and Bedard’s jersey was everywhere, with fans leaving their throwbacks of previous stars at property and embracing the team’s long term in a large way.

That Chicago’s latest must-have style accent has a large illustration of a Native American man’s encounter on the front amid nationwide phone calls to eliminate the use of this kind of imagery is jarring for some, but the team has insisted its nickname and symbol honor and raise consciousness for Black Hawk, a Sauk leader and warrior, which places them in a different class than teams whose names and symbols are thought of racist or belittling. It is a contention that has been achieved with intense disagreement among the several Native American teams.

The discussion about a title modify will probably proceed for a long time to arrive, and Bedard’s outsize popularity could stop up spreading the discussion significantly past Chicago. For now, the youthful hockey star, who scored his 2nd profession objective in Saturday’s decline to the Vegas Golden Knights, can emphasis on factors with considerably decreased stakes, like how he will shut the 892-aim hole concerning himself and Gretzky.

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