Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Connor McDavid Granted Exceptional Player Status to Ontario Hockey League: Connor McDavid Set to Enter OHL at Age 15[1]

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Connor McDavid Granted Exceptional Player Status to Ontario Hockey League: Connor McDavid Set to Enter OHL at Age 15[1]

Article excerpt

Connor McDavid is on his way to the Ontario Hockey League at the tender age of 15. But where will he play?

No sooner had McDavid been granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada on Wednesday than speculation began about his willingness to join the Erie Otters, the team holding the No. 1 pick for the April 7 OHL draft.

McDavid and his parents recently travelled to Erie, Pa., and met with general manager Sherry Bassin and other members of the Otters organization. However they remained non-committal about whether their son would be willing to move nearly 400 kilometres away from their home in Newmarket, Ont.

"We have to still talk to the Erie organization," Kelly McDavid, Connor's mother, said Wednesday on a conference call. "I don't think we can make a decision until that happens."

Added Brian McDavid, the player's father: "We don't know for sure where Connor's going to be drafted. I think there's lots of speculation on that. Once that day comes, we'll move forward at that point."

A message left with Bassin was not immediately returned.

McDavid is without question the jewel of the upcoming OHL draft, both because of his immense talent and the fact he isn't eligible for the NHL draft until 2015. The teenager is just the third player to be granted exceptional status over the last decade, following defenceman Aaron Ekblad last season and centre John Tavares in 2005.

The main reason Hockey Canada was given control of the exceptional status process a couple years ago was to make sure a player's best interest were taken to heart.

Phillip McKee, the executive director of the Ontario Hockey Federation, said the review panel was "comfortable" that McDavid would find himself in a position to succeed no matter what OHL team he ended up with.

In applying for exceptional status, McDavid and his parents handed in paperwork to the OHF ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline, setting in motion an extensive review that included everything from interviews and psychological examinations to the submission of reports from teachers, hockey coaches and scouts.

The young centre even had to write an essay detailing what traits made him a good player.

"Unanimously, the committee supported Connor in moving forward in major junior hockey," said McKee. …

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