Bedard NHL debut with Blackhawks among NHL highlights in 2023
A look back at some of the most memorable moments in the NHL in 2023, including Connor Bedard's debut with the Chicago Blackhawks and other exciting events.
Bedard NHL Debut
One of the most anticipated moments of the year was the NHL debut of Connor Bedard. He was selected as the first overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft. Bedard's talent was undeniable, and it was no surprise that he went first. The real suspense came with the second pick, as the Anaheim Ducks had to decide between Leo Carlsson and Adam Fantilli. In the end, Carlsson was chosen by the Ducks, and Fantilli went to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The draft also saw other talented players like Will Smith and David Reinbacher being selected by the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens, respectively.
16. Poile Makes Final Trade as GM
It was a bittersweet moment for Nashville Predators fans as their longtime general manager, David Poile, made his final trade before retiring. The trade involved the Predators sending a seventh-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the next year's draft. Although the trade itself may not have been significant, it marked the end of an era for Poile, who had been the Predators' GM for 26 years. The emotional moment was shared with Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald, who was the first player to sign with the Predators and had a special connection with Poile.
NHL Goes Down Under
In a historic move, the NHL ventured to Australia for the first time to play two preseason games. The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes faced off in the 2024 NHL Global Series -- Melbourne, which took place at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. The games were a success, with both being sold out and showcasing the growing interest in hockey in Australia. The Coyotes won the first game 5-3, with rookie Logan Cooley scoring an impressive goal. The Kings bounced back in the second game, winning 3-2. The NHL's presence in Australia opened up new possibilities for future games and expansion into new markets.
Bedard NHL Debut, Golden Knights Raise Banner
The 2023-24 NHL season kicked off with a tripleheader, featuring exciting matchups and memorable moments. One of the highlights was Connor Bedard's NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks. Bedard made an immediate impact, recording an assist and playing a significant role in the Blackhawks' 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Another notable event was the raising of the Stanley Cup banner by the Vegas Golden Knights. The team celebrated their historic championship win before defeating the Seattle Kraken 4-1 in their season opener. Bedard continued to impress in the following game, scoring his first NHL goal against the Boston Bruins.
Frozen Frenzy and Battle of Alberta
October 24 was a special day in the NHL, as all 16 teams played their games simultaneously, creating a frenzy of hockey action. ESPN covered every game, providing live updates and highlights throughout the day. The event was a celebration of the sport and showcased the intensity and excitement of NHL games. Additionally, the Battle of Alberta took place outdoors in the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic. The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames faced off at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, continuing a longstanding rivalry. The Oilers emerged victorious with a 5-2 win, thrilling the fans in attendance.