Athletes with automobile partnerships aren’t new. Gretzky and Ford; Lamar Jackson and Nissan; Rafael Nadal and Kia; Roger Federer and Mercedes-Benz. Now, the newest partnership in that lineage sees Hyundai Canada teaming up with perhaps the NHL’s most remarkable prospect, Connor Bedard. As the italicized H’s new brand ambassador, Bedard will represent Hyundai Canada via public appearances, on social media, in advertisements, and more—maybe he’ll give our captain coach managing editor Jonny Yarks some tips on stick handling and breakaways!
tap here to see other videos from our team.
So why Bedard, who hasn’t played a single NHL game yet? Well, I mean, Bedard did win the CHL Top Prospect, Top Scorer, and David Branch Player of the Year awards—the first time anyone has captured all three awards in a season. He also scooped up the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence at this year’s NHL awards ceremony and led the Canadian Junior team to a gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships, setting points and goals record for Team Canada along the way. And just hours ago, as expected he was picked first overall in the NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal….
“We took our hockey involvement to the next level with the NHL and NHLPA partnership last year,” Christine Smith, director of marketing at Hyundai Auto Canada, says. “Bringing one of the game’s most elite young stars on board is both an honour and a natural next step… we warmly welcome Connor to the Hyundai family, who is already an inspiration to so many, and will inspire the next generation of hockey fans.”
Recommended from Editorial
Long-term test update: 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Long Range AWD
Superfan's new Hyundai showroom is a basketball dreamland
What specifically sealed the deal between the two? Rumour has it that Hyundai Canada showed Bedard a picture of a 2002 Hyundai Elantra GT Hatchback and said “This is what Jay Kana, yes, the Jay Kana, chose as his first car purchase!” Bedard allegedly was so starstruck, he could barely stammer out a “sign me up!”
Okay, okay, back to reality. (The reality where the Leafs never win a Stanley Cup before 2050.) Bedard explains it thus: “I am excited to partner with Hyundai Canada, they are a group that clearly shares a love of hockey and a commitment to celebrating the best of the sport at all levels across Canada… I’m looking forward to working with the team.”
The pairing marks the latest tie-up between Hyundai and the NHL. In May of 2022, the carmaker was named the official automotive partner of the NHL and NHLPA in Canada, and sibling brand Genesis will be made the official luxury automotive partner of the NHL and NHLPA in Canada beginning in the 2023-2024 NHL season.
Let us know in the comments which Hyundai offering you think Bedard should drive.