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CHL grants DuPont exceptional status to enter WHL in 2024-25

Landon DuPont Landon DuPont - Canadian Hockey League

The Canadian Hockey League announced Monday that defenceman Landon DuPont has been granted exceptional player status and is eligible to play in the Western Hockey League in 2024-25. 

DuPont is the first defenceman to be granted exceptional status in WHL history and second player after forward Connor Bedard.

Since the exceptional status rule was created in 2005, nine players have received the designation, starting with forward John Tavares (2005 - OHL Oshawa), followed by defenceman Aaron Ekblad (2011 - OHL Barrie), forward Connor McDavid (2012 - OHL Erie), defenceman Sean Day (2013 - OHL Mississauga), forward Joe Veleno (2015 - QMJHL Saint John), forward Shane Wright (2019 - OHL Kingston), Bedard, forward Michael Misa (2022 - OHL Saginaw) and DuPont. 

“On behalf of the WHL Board of Governors, I would like to congratulate Landon on being the first defenceman in WHL history to be granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada,” said WHL commissioner Dan Near in a news release. “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. These attributes make him truly deserving of being among those exceptional players to come before him, and we look forward to him continuing his development in the WHL.”

DuPont, 14, spent the 2023-24 season playing for the Edge School U18 Prep squad in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) where he scored 19 goals with 62 points in 30 regular season games. In five playoff games, he had five goals and 16 points, capturing the CSSHL U18 title and championship MVP honours. 

The first player from Alberta to be granted exceptional status, he is eligible to be selected in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday, May 9. 

“It is such an honour for me to receive Exceptional Player Status from Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada. I’m extremely humbled to have received this designation,” DuPont said in the same relase. “I would like to thank my family, all of my coaches, trainers, advisors, and most of all, my teammates, through my entire hockey journey for helping me get to this point. I’m excited to continue my development in the WHL and will work hard every day to continue to improve.”