Veleno exceptional, top pick in QMJHL

Aaron Vickers2016 Draft Center

Joey Veleno is the latest ‘exceptional’ talent to enter the Canadian Hockey League.

Veleno was granted exceptional status to play as a 15-year-old in Major Junior and will be the first such skater to do so in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“I was informed by Hockey Canada this afternoon that Joseph Veleno has been granted exceptional status and is eligible 2015 @QMJHL Draft,” tweeted QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau on Thursday.

Veleno was selected first overall by the Saint John Sea Dogs at the QMJHL Entry Draft on Saturday.

The 6-foot, 168-pound center joins Connor McDavid, John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Sean Day, all drafted into the Ontario Hockey League, as 15 year olds granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada.

Veleno, from Kirkland, QC, finished 12th in Quebec Midget AAA scoring in 2014-15 with 52 points in 41 games for the Lac-St-Louis Lions. He also represented Quebec at the Canada Games.