Connor Bedard has been granted exceptional player and is eligible to play in the Western Hockey League as a 15-year-old.
The decision from BC Hockey was made Tuesday.
Bedard, 14, is the first player granted exceptional status into the WHL.
He joins five players from the Ontario Hockey League (John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Shane Wright) and one from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Joe Veleno) in receiving the honor.
“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,” BC Hockey chief executive officer Barry Petrachenko said in a release. “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, a top prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft, had 84 points (43 goals, 41 assists) in just 36 games for West Vancouver Academy’s U18 team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) last season. His goal and point totals led the league.
The review process was completed by BC Hockey with a Hockey Canada Special Evaluation Panel assembled to evaluate Bedard’s potential in the areas of hockey skills, academic ability, and his mental and physical maturity.
Exceptional player status is granted to a player whose qualities both on and off the ice deem a player deserving of entering the Canadian Hockey League early. Consideration of such 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.