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Calgary's Landon DuPont granted exceptional status to play in WHL next season


The Western Hockey League (WHL) officially introduced Calgary's Landon DuPont as the second player in league history to be granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada.

The 14-year-old right-handed defenceman becomes the ninth player to be given the green light to join the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) on a full-time basis a year early, joining the likes of Connor Bedard and Connor McDavid.

"It’s such an honour for me,” DuPont said Monday, with his mother and father sitting next to him as he was introduced to media.

“I’m extremely humbled to have received this designation,” said DuPont, who will turn 15 on May 28.

DuPont manned the blue line for Edge School's U18 team last season, racking up 19 goals and 43 assists in 30 games to lead all defenceman in points in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL).

DuPont is expected to be drafted first overall by the Everett Silvertips on May 9 and will be in Grade 10 when the WHL season begins.

"Landon is a fine young man, who not only possesses tremendous talent on the ice, but has been raised with solid moral character, a positive attitude and a great work ethic,” said WHL commissioner Dan Near.

DuPont is the son of former Calgary Flames defenceman Micki DuPont.

DuPont caught everyone’s attention with his play at the Circle K Classic back in December, where he stood out despite playing against players who were years older than he is. Now he'll be playing against some players who are five years older than he is in the WHL.

An exceptional status offers the chance for younger players to enter the WHL a year early.

While the youth will be the second WHL player to be recognized, eight other Canadian hockey players have been given the status, including Bedard:

  • 2022: Michael Misa, centre;
  • 2020: Connor Bedard, centre;
  • 2019: Shane Wright, centre;
  • 2015: Joe Veleno, centre/left wing;
  • 2013: Sean Day, defenceman;
  • 2012: Connor McDavid, centre;
  • 2011: Aaron Ekblad, defenceman; and
  • 2005: John Tavares, centre. Top Stories

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