Connor Bedard, a 14-year-old North Vancouver native, was granted “Exceptional Status” Tuesday after a review by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada, allowing him to play in the WHL next season. Bedard becomes the first player to gain exceptional status for eligibility in the WHL.
Born July 17, 2005, Bedard is a 5-foot-8, 165-pound forward who played for West Vancouver Academy’s U18 team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) last season, where he scored 43 goals and 41 assists for 84 points in 36 games.
NEWS | BC Hockey is proud to announce that North Vancouver’s Connor Bedard is the first player to gain exceptional player status for eligibility in @TheWHL!
— BC Hockey (@BCHockey_Source) March 25, 2020
Bedard becomes just the seventh player ever to be granted the exceptional status. There have been five players granted exceptional status in the Ontario Hockey League (John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Shane Wright) and one player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Joe Veleno).
The status “is only granted to a player whose ongoing development is more likely to be significantly enhanced by playing in the CHL as a 15-year-old than by participating in his designated age division next season,” according to BC Hockey.
Connor Bedard is the filthiest upcoming goal scorer in Canada. He’s got a lethal shot with a whopping 2.47 G/GP as a 2005 born playing up with 04s. He’s a near lock for CHL Exceptional Status for the 20-21 WHL season.
— TPEHockey (@TPEHockey) January 16, 2019
“Throughout the evaluation process, Connor has displayed the tremendous potential he has both mentally and physically to be able to be granted exceptional status,” BC Hockey chief executive officer Barry Petrachenko said in a statement.
The exceptional-player rule was introduced in 2005 for Canada’s three major-junior hockey leagues. Bedard, a forward, becomes the seventh player to receive the status.