Connor Bedard, the 18-year-old phenom drafted first overall by the Chicago Blackhawks, electrified the United Center crowd by scoring his first home goal just 90 seconds into his debut on Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.
“It was really special to get that first one here in front of the home crowd,” said Bedard after the 5-3 loss. “This is the building where all the greats have played, so to score my first goal here is something I’ll always remember.”
Bedard showed off his lethal release on the power play, taking a pass from Taylor Hall in the high slot and firing a wrist shot top shelf over Vegas goalie Adin Hill’s glove. The sold-out crowd of nearly 20,000 fans erupted as Bedard punched the glass in celebration.
“You don’t really get that many opportunities like that, so I just tried to make the most of it,” explained Bedard.
The teenager has been touted as a generational talent and his early success has only heightened expectations. Through six NHL games, Bedard has two goals and four points while averaging over 20 minutes per game.
The Blackhawks are in the early stages of a rebuild, but the future looks bright with Bedard leading the youth movement. Chicago has not made the playoffs since 2017, but Bedard’s arrival gives fans hope that the team’s championship window could soon reopen.
“It was electric in there. It was cool for me and all the guys there. You get energy from that. For us to get one early and get [the fans] up like that was great. They’re awesome, so it was a lot of fun to play in front of them,” said Bedard about the energetic United Center crowd
At just 18 years old, Bedard is already showing the elite scoring ability that made him the number one overall draft pick. His lethal shot and nose for the net have Blackhawks fans hopeful that he can lead the team back to championship glory.
Saturday’s goal provided a glimpse of the dazzling plays Bedard is capable of as he gains experience. The hockey world will be watching his development closely, waiting to see if he can fulfill his enormous potential.
For one night at least, Bedard gave Chicago fans a reason to dream big once again.