In case you missed the news earlier this week, 14 year old phenom Connor Bedard of North Vancouver, BC became the first player in history to be granted “exceptional status” in the WHL.
Check it out:
“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. “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 becomes the first person to gain exceptional status for eligibility in the WHL. The WHL Bantam Draft is set for April 22, 2020. There have been five (5) players granted exceptional status in the Ontario Hockey League (John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Shane Wright) along with one (1) in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Joe Veleno).
As an “exceptional player” Bedard will be eligible to play in the WHL a year early at just 15 years old in 2020-21. Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL was granted exceptional status a year ago and put up a remarkable 39 goals and 66 points in 58 games this past season as a 15/16 year old. Suffice it to say that scouts are salivating over Bedard and can’t wait to see what this kid can do at the WHL level.
Yesterday the Regina Pats won the WHL’s draft lottery and are expected to pick Bedard with the 1st overall pick on April 22nd.
Bedard played this past season with the West Vancouver Academy ’s U-18 team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League. In 36 games, Bedard recorded 43 goals and 84 points, leading the league in both categories by a wide margin. He also carried his team on his back by contributing on nearly 50% of his teams total goals on the year. The 14 year old Bedard is still undersized at 5’8” and 165 lbs., but… he’s a kid. Don’t forget that Bedard is still four years away from his NHL draft year, in other words he has plenty of time left to grow and mature into a professional hockey player.