June 19, 2023

Connor Bedard named IIHF’s first-ever male player of the year

Connor Bedard has been named the inaugural winner of the IIHF Male Player of the Year as voted on by media and IIHF Family.

Bedard, the consensus No. 1 pick for the 2023 NHL Draft, has logged three medals from IIHF tournaments before the age of 18, including gold at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and double-gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship in both 2022 and 2023.

“This is such a huge honour,” Bedard said, according to the release. “I’m not sure how to compare it to others I’ve received, but it’s pretty incredible to receive this award with all the unbelievable players that have competed in the IIHF this season and the amazing players that were nominated for this award.”

Bedard won 31.8% of the vote.

He had the most productive World Juniors, by comparison, in IIHF history, registering 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) — nine points better than second-place Logan Cooley of Team USA for the biggest gap between first and second-place scorers. Both his goals (9) and assists (14) also led the tournament — the fourth time ever a player has led both categories outright.

The 17-year-old also led the Western Hockey League with 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists) despite missing a month to participate at the World Juniors. He logged a 35-game point streak during his run, and became the first player to win the CHL’s top three awards in one year—Player of the Year, Top Prospect, and Top Scorer.

Fellow 2023 draft-eligible Adam Fantilli, who won gold at the World Juniors and 2023 IIHF World Championship with Canada, finished fifth with 11.9% of the vote. He is only the second Canadian to ever claim double gold in a single season at the event after Jonathan Toews, and is the 11th overall and second-youngest.

He also netted the Hobey Baker Award as a freshman, just the third to do so, after he led the NCAA in scoring with 65 points (30 goals, 35 assists) in just 35 games with the University of Michigan.

Other vote-getters included Vancouver Canucks prospect and Latvia goalie Arturs Silovs (19.6%), Swiss forward Andres Ambuhl (19.2%), Detroit Red Wings skaters and German players Moritz Seider (14.3%) and JJ Peterka (2.1%), and Red Wings and Czech forward Dominik Kubalik (1.0%).

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