The ping pong balls fell in the favor of the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night as they won the NHL Draft Lottery and will have the first pick in next month’s draft.
Fans were crossing fingers as they hoped for the chance to draft Canada’s Connor Bedard, who is maybe the best prospect since Hart Trophy favorite Connor McDavid.
Well, in the minutes after seemingly getting Bedard, the phones in the Blackhawks’ ticket office were ringing off the hook.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the team sold 500 full-season ticket plans and racked up more than $2.5 million in season ticket packages within just 90 minutes of the announcement that they would pick first.
It’s understandable why people are jumping on the bandwagon – Bedard, a 17-year-old from Vancouver, scored 71 goals and had 72 assists in 57 games with the WHL’s Regina Pats. The WHL is a major junior ice hockey league out west.
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He was a part of both the 2022 and 2023 Canadian teams that won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships. He was the MVP of the 2023 tournament by scoring nine goals and handing out 14 assists in seven games – his 23 points were the fourth-most at a single WJC.
The last time Chicago had the first pick was way back in 2007 when they drafted Patrick Kane.
Along with fellow Canadian McDavid, Bedard has also received comparisons to Sidney Crosby, who too was a first-overall pick from Canada.
Chicago, who have been in a full rebuild, had the third-highest odds of winning the lottery at 11.5% with their 26-49-7 record behind Anaheim’s 25.5% and Columbus’ 13.5%.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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