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Alberta’s Landon DuPont Introduced As First Exceptional Status Defenceman In WHL History

April 8th – Hockey Alberta press release:




CALGARY – The Western Hockey League announced today, on behalf of Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta, that Landon DuPont (Calgary, Alta.) has been granted Exceptional Player Status and is eligible to play in the WHL on a full-time basis beginning with the 2024-25 WHL Regular Season.

“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,” commented WHL Commissioner Dan Near. “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.”

An Exceptional Player must possess a level of mental, social, and emotional maturity that belies his age, along with hockey skills that greatly exceed those of other elite level players both in their age group and among players several years older. For an individual who is granted exceptional status, they earn the rare privilege of participating in the Western Hockey League at an early age. It is believed their development is more likely to be enhanced significantly by playing in the WHL as a 15-year-old, than by participating in their designated age division.

The Exceptional Player Status process was administered by Hockey Alberta with a Hockey Canada Special Evaluation Panel, which reviewed DuPont’s hockey and academic documentation. The process also assessed DuPont’s level of maturity.

“Hockey Canada wishes to congratulate Landon DuPont and his family on the impressive achievement of becoming only the second player to be granted Exceptional Status into the WHL, and the ninth player in the entire CHL,” said Scott Salmond, Senior Vice-President of High Performance and Hockey Operations with Hockey Canada. “Landon not only boasts impressive hockey ability that will allow him to succeed in the WHL at a young age, but he also possesses the incredible maturity required to be an exemplary young person off the ice.”

Born May 28, 2009, the 14-year-old DuPont is eligible to be selected in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft, which is scheduled for Thursday, May 9.

A 5-foot-11, 170-pound right shot defenceman, DuPont spent the 2023-24 season playing for the Edge School U18 Prep squad in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL), where he recorded 62 points (19G-43A) in 30 regular season games to finish third in CSSHL U18 scoring. His 62 points led all blueliners and established a new CSSHL U18 Prep single-season scoring record for defencemen. DuPont added another 16 points (5G-11A) in five playoff games, tying the CSSHL U18 Championship scoring record held by former Edmonton Oil Kings and Seattle Thunderbirds star Dylan Guenther. DuPont’s record-tying performance earned him CSSHL U18 Prep Championship MVP honours as he helped Edge capture the CSSHL U18 title.

“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. “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.”

DuPont becomes the first defenceman and second player in WHL history to be granted Exceptional Player Status by Hockey Canada, following Connor Bedard (2020 – Regina Pats / West Van Academy Prep).

“Congratulations to Landon DuPont on being the first-ever player from Alberta granted Exceptional Status with the Western Hockey League. Landon’s achievement is a testament to his skills, desire, and hard work,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO and President, Hockey Alberta. “It also reflects the commitment and effort of everyone involved in Landon’s hockey circle. This is a proud day for Landon, the DuPont family, and the staff and students at Edge School, and the entire Hockey Alberta community shares that pride.”

DuPont is the third defenceman and ninth player in Canadian Hockey League (CHL) history to be granted Exceptional Player Status by Hockey Canada. He was preceded by defencemen Aaron Ekblad (2011 – Barrie Colts / Sun County Panthers) and Sean Day (2013 – Mississauga Steelheads / Compuware 16U AAA), along with forwards John Tavares (2005 – Oshawa Generals / Toronto Marlboros), Connor McDavid (2012 – Erie Otters / Toronto Marlboros), Joe Veleno (2015 – Saint John Sea Dogs / Lac St-Louis Lions), Shane Wright (2019 – Kingston Frontenacs / Don Mills Flyers), Michael Misa (2022 – Saginaw Spirit / Mississauga Senators).


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