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Landon DuPont Granted Exceptional Status To Join WHL At 15

Landon DuPont Granted Exceptional Status To Join WHL At 15

Landon DuPont is the first player since Connor Bedard to be granted exceptional status to join the WHL a year early.

Apr 8, 2024 by Lizz Child
Landon DuPont Granted Exceptional Status To Join WHL At 15

In a Monday afternoon announcement, the Western Hockey League announced they were granting exceptional status to just the second player, and first defenseman, in league history, 14-year-old Landon DuPont. In the press announcement of DuPont's exceptional player status, a constant theme was that DuPont's hockey is at a high level, but also that his emotional maturity and responsibility level were taken into account before exceptional status was granted. DuPont himself, when asked about how he feels about a greater level of responsibility in the WHL, commented: "I think there's nothing that I can't handle."

With Connor Bedard earning exceptional player status in 2020 was groundbreaking on its own, and the current NHL rookie sent DuPont a video ahead of the press conference, a moment that DuPont noted was 

When asked about the pressures that he now faces as he heads into the WHL, DuPont commented that "I'm going to try my best to ignore it. Just try to have fun and remember why I play hockey. I don't play it for the likes and clicks online. I play it to have fun with my friends and teammates and brother. Just enjoying it with them is going to be the biggest part for me and just ignoring the online stuff is going to be huge."

Who Is Landon DuPont?

Landon DuPont is a 14-year-old defenseman from Calgary and is considered the No. 1 prospect for the upcoming WHL Draft. DuPont, who is a 5-foot-11, right-shot defenseman, played for The Edge School in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Despite his youth, DuPont played for Edge's U18 Prep team, which he led to the CSSHL U18 Western Prep Championship.

He is the son of former NHL player Micki DuPont who played for the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins. Micki DuPont also spent many years playing in Germany and Switzerland's top professional leagues. He retired after the 2018-19 season, which he spent with Eisbaren Berlin.

Landon DuPont will turn 15 on May 28. 

Who Will Pick Landon DuPont In The WHL Draft?

The U.S Division's Everett Silvertips won the right to the first-overall selection in the 2024 WHL Draft, with a pick they acquired from the Kamloops Blazers at the 2023 WHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Olen Zellweger (ANA) and Ryan Hofer (WSH). With DuPont being the most likely name to go first overall on May 9, Washington State looks to be the landing spot for DuPont's talents in the WHL.

What Is Exceptional Status In The Canadian Hockey League?

To be a full-time player in the Canadian Hockey League, a player must be at least 16 years of age. Hockey Canada grants exceptional status to players that have been deemed ahead of their peers both in their hockey skills and maturity in order to enter one of the three Canadian Hockey Leagues as a full-time player one year prior to their peers' eligibility. Players can apply for exceptional status and the application is reviewed by a Hockey Canada panel before a decision is made.

Who Has Received Exceptional Stats In The CHL?

  • John Tavares, 2005 - OHL
  • Aaron Eklblad, 2011 - OHL
  • Connor McDavid, 2012 - OHL
  • Sean Day, 2013 - OHL
  • Joe Veleno, 2015 - QMJHL
  • Shane Wright, 2019 - OHL
  • Connor Bedard, 2020 - WHL
  • Michael Misa, 2022 - OHL
  • Landon DuPont, 2024 - WHL

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