Connor Bedard has the Regina Pats’ blessing to train in Sweden

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“I’m fine with it,” Paddock said. “I already have video of him from the skill stuff he was doing this morning that was sent to me. I think it’s a unique opportunity with a very good organization. The COVID thing, you’d have to get past that, but that’s what they’ve decided as a family. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see hockey and practise hockey at a little bit different level.”

Media reports from Sweden on Monday suggested that Bedard might eventually play games for HV71, “if the WHL agrees.”

However, Paddock said that’s not part of the current agreement.

“No, not at all,” insisted the Pats’ GM. “He’s not going to play games. That’s clear between the arrangement we have with his agents and the organization there and the Western Hockey League. It’s not something that is in the (thought process) of this at all. It would require a lot of things. They’ve never thought about playing games.”

Paddock said Bedard remains focused squarely on the WHL after being selected first overall in this year’s bantam draft. He’s also the first-ever player to be granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada for early entry into the WHL.

Unfortunately, he won’t be debuting for Regina anytime soon because the league’s start date has been pushed back until at least Dec. 4 due to COVID-19.

The Pats are hoping to begin training camp by mid-November, so that’s when Bedard is tentatively scheduled to return.

Meanwhile, many pro and junior teams in Europe are forging ahead with their schedules this fall. That gives Bedard an opportunity to train with a high-level team that wouldn’t be available back home.