Forward Connor Bedard to be first exceptional status player in WHL

North Vancouver 14-year-old Connor Bedard is the first player to be granted exceptional player status by the WHL. (Garrett James/CSSHL Media)

For the first time in WHL history, a player has been granted exceptional player status.

Connor Bedard, a 14-year-old North Vancouver native, was granted the status Tuesday after a review by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada and is eligible to play in the WHL next season.

“BC Hockey would like to congratulate Connor on being announced as the first player from Western Canada to be granted exceptional status in the CHL and WHL,” said BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer Barry Petrachenko in a statement. “Throughout the evaluation process, Connor has displayed the tremendous potential he has both mentally and physically to be able to be granted exceptional status.”

Bedard is a five-foot-eight, 165-pound forward who played on the West Vancouver Academy’s U18 team last season, scoring 43 goals and 84 points in 36 Canadian Sports School Hockey League game. He turns 15 in July.

Exceptional player status has been granted five times in the OHL (John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Shane Wright) and once in the QMJHL (Joe Veleno). According to a statement from the WHL, the status is awarded based on more than just on-ice ability and that Bedard’s “hockey skills, academic ability, and his mental and physical maturity,” were all considered in the evaluation.

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