CHICAGO (CBS) – Fans were out at Fifth-Third Arena for the start of Blackhawks training camp and with it, the official debut of No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard's NHL career.
The 18-year-old was the center of attention while fans also got to see veterans like left winger Nick Foligno and defenseman Seth Jones up close and personal.
For Bedard, it's time to test his mettle against players who have been playing for years as the Hawks try to take the next step in their rebuild.
"It's kind of figuring out what it's like playing against these guys," Bedard said. "You never really know until you're in a game what you got to improve on. So right now, I'm trying to work on everything, be a sponge out here."
Jones said the Blackhawks are not starting training camp expecting to win every game this season, "but we want to be competitive. We want to build toward something."
He added the Hawks have "a good mix" of younger players and veterans.
"I think it's gonna be fun," Jones said. "That's our main goal this year is to compete every game for our fans and see where it takes us."
Bedard called the fans in Chicago "unbelievable," and said Chicago is a beautiful city. He added, "the drivers are intense here." The rookie is only 18, so one could imagine what it's like driving on the Kennedy Expressway for a kid from British Columbia.
for more features.