Blackhawks' Connor Bedard looking forward to shifting focus back to hockey

Blackhawks' Connor Bedard looking forward to shifting focus back to hockey originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It's been an extremely hectic summer for Connor Bedard, especially since he was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The scouting combine, off-ice obligations, development camp, NHL media tours, etc.

On Thursday, Bedard had his first unofficial practice with the Blackhawks ahead of the 2023 Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase. Next week, he will finally join the rest of his new teammates for actual NHL training camp.

Let's just say Bedard is respectfully looking forward to shifting the focus back to hockey again.

"It's what we all want to do," Bedard said. "Of course there's been a lot of photos and interviews, which is great. But I want to play hockey, so it's good to get back here and get everything started and focus on that."

Bedard took advantage of some much-needed down time after the NHL Draft to recharge the batteries and prepare, both physically and mentally, for the upcoming season.

"It’s so busy leading up and obviously it’s such a special night and week, super grateful for all those memories, but it's tiring, of course, and you're kind of all over the place, you're pulled in a bunch of directions," Bedard said. "So it's definitely nice to go home for a bit, be with your family and just kind of focus on the training and being with your friends and family and stuff."

Bedard has returned to Chicago for good, and has even been able to skate in a few informal practices with some Blackhawks teammates at Fifth Third Arena. He also spent a little bit of time with Seth Jones at the NHL Player Media Tour in Vegas.

Finally, it's back to hockey all the time for Bedard, just the way he likes it.

"I’m pretty pumped to just be here and be focused with the guys on that one thing," Bedard said. "That’s what we all want to do. ... I love being in a routine and having kind of that 'get out, go to the rink' and kind of be with the same guys every day and build those relationships and work toward a common goal of being a better team and winning games, of course. So yeah, that's really exciting for all of us."

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