Calgary’s Landon DuPont becomes second player in WHL history to receive exceptional status

CALGARY, AB - APRIL 5, 2024: Landon DuPont (Photo by Jenn Pierce/WHL)

For only the second time in WHL history, a player has been granted exceptional status.

During a press conference held on Monday afternoon, the WHL announced that Landon DuPont will receive exceptional status for the upcoming 2024-25 season. DuPont is the first defenceman to receive exceptional status in the WHL. Prior to DuPont, Connor Bedard was the only player to ever receive exceptional status in the WHL.

Exceptional status permits a player to play full time as a 15-year-old when they would otherwise have to play full-time for a U18 club team.

Since the exceptional status rule was created in the CHL in 2005, only nine players have been given the designation: John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, Joe Veleno, Shane Wright, Connor Bedard and Michael Misa.

“It is an honor for me to receive exceptional player status from Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta.” DuPont said. “(I’m) extremely humbled to have received this. I’d like to thank my family, all of my coaches, trainers, advisors, and teachers, and most of all, my teammates through my entire hockey journey for helping me to get to this point. I’m excited to continue my development in the WHL and will work hard every day to continue to improve.”

In order for DuPont to receive exceptional status, Hockey Alberta alongside a Hockey Canada Special Evaluation Panel reviewed his hockey and academic documents and evaluated DuPont’s maturity level throughout the process.

Scott Salmond, the Senior Vice-President of High Performance and Hockey Operations with Hockey Canada says DuPont was worthy of the distinction.

“The term exceptional is not reserved just for a player. The term exceptional is reserved equally and more importantly for the person. When you watch Landon play, you’re drawn to his skill of skating, his talent, his edge work, his vision on the ice. When you have an opportunity to meet him and to talk to him, to get to know him a little bit, you also understand the idea of exceptional character, exceptional integrity, exceptional maturity, which for a 14-year-old young man and for a 15-year-old next year to play in a league with 20-year-olds is incumbent.”

Last season playing for Edge School U18 Prep, DuPont recorded 62 points in 30 games as a defenceman, adding 16 points in five playoff games.

The Everett Silvertips are expected to select DuPont with the first overall pick in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday, May 9. The Prince Albert Raiders select at second and ninth overall in the first round.