Kelowna Rockets host WHL star Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats Tuesday night

Rockets host Bedard

Madison Erhardt

The Kelowna Rockets will play before a sold-out crowd Tuesday night for the first time since Dec. 27, 2019, as fans hope to catch a glimpse of WHL phenom Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats.

During the Pat's nine-day road trip, tickets have been hard to come by as Bedard's talent has helped to sell out arenas in Langley, Victoria, Kelowna and Kamloops.

The 17-year-old is projected to be the first overall pick in next summer's NHL draft and is likely to head right into the NHL.

He's being described as the NHL's next big thing.

"It's a lot of fun. You can feel the energy in the building and whenever you walk out there and you see every seat taken... you kind of get up and it is a lot of fun," Bedard said during a media availability Monday.

The Vancouverite says his parents as well as a few friends will be in attendance Tuesday night.

The teen will be playing against friend and former teammate Andrew Cristall of the Rockets.

"I think we have known each other for over 10 years now. We are super competitive together whatever it is we are doing. I mean he doesn't beat me at much, but we are together all the time so we are super close," Bedard said.

"It is a long time coming. I mean we have both had this game circled on the calendar for a while, but then again it is just another game and our team is looking to get a win and we are not going to be friends out there I don't think," said Cristall.

Bedard has a 23-game point streak with 22 goals and 31 assists in 24 games.

"We haven't had a player like this in the West of this magnitude. They have had a few in the OHL and the Quebec League, but this guy has got action written all over him and as you have just witnessed he's a classy young man that is preparing himself to play at the next level in a hurry," said Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton.

Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

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