Defenceman granted 'exceptional' status for OHL draft

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:32 PM ET

The Ontario Hockey Federation announced Thursday that 15-year-old defenceman Aaron Ekblad has been granted “exceptional player” status and will be eligible for the 2011 OHL draft on May 7.

"The process established for the exceptional player is an extensive evaluation of the player in all aspects of life,” OHF Executive Director Phillip McKee said in a release. “Aaron should be very proud, just as the OHF is of him, for achieving the exceptional player status."

The “exceptional” tag allows Ekblad to be drafted at the age of 15 instead of 16 or 17 as per OHL Priority Selection rules.

He is the first player to be granted such status since current New York Islanders forward John Tavares, who was selected first overall by the Oshawa Generals in the 2005 OHL draft.

Playing for the Sun County Panthers Minor Midget AAA program, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound blueliner from Belle River, Ont. recorded 34 points in 30 regular season games and 21 points in 18 playoff games this season.

The Barrie Colts, who finished with a 15-49-2 record this OHL season, own the first overall pick in the draft.


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