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“At this stage we’re focused on the practise and training and development side of things,” Landry said. “If it gets to the stage of the season being cancelled or the season being delayed further, we’ll be in communication with the Regina Pats and the Western Hockey League and the Bedard family to make a decision that is best for everyone involved.”
Bedard had been training in Vancouver when a delay to the WHL season prompted Newport to seek other options.
Why Sweden? Because it presents an opportunity for high-level training in a team environment alongside older players, which isn’t readily available at home under current COVID-19 restrictions.
Sweden is also a world leader in developing NHL players.
“HV71 is one of the more progressive organizations,” Landry noted. “They have multiple pads, they have a shooting area, they have skills coaches. From a hockey perspective, they’re all-in (when it comes to) training and development. That was probably the appealing part for us was the opportunity to not only have those facilities but also some of the (elite) young players they have in their organization that he would be surrounded by.”
It’s a critical time in Bedard’s evolution as a player and a person.
With his WHL career on hold, the opportunity in Sweden ensures that the next few weeks won’t go to waste for the 15-year-old phenom.
“First and foremost, it’s a really interesting life experience,” Landry continued. “Obviously the goal is, it allows him to be better prepared for the WHL season, increasing his strength, his quickness, working on his skill development, maturing as a person and as a player. There’s lots to be gained from it.