Cowichan Bay player first to be granted exceptional status by BCHL

Cowichan Bay player first to be granted exceptional status by BCHL
BCHL handout image
Eli McKamey from Cowichan Bay is the first player in the BCHL to be granted exceptional status.

A 15-year-old hockey player from Cowichan Bay is the first ever to be granted exceptional status to play in the BCHL before being eligible.

Typically, playing in the BCHL (BC Hockey League) is restricted to 16 to 20 year olds. In January, the BCHL board of governors agreed to add an exceptional status process to give early eligibility to students.

And now, a Shawnigan Lake School student who turned 15 in January is the first to be granted an exception through this process.

Eli McKamey is from Cowichan Bay and was born in 2009. He applied for, and was granted, the status to play for the Penticton Vees in the 2024-25 season.

“I believe playing for the Penticton Vees is a great opportunity for development as a player and as a person,” said McKamey. “Playing in the BCHL allows me to keep my future options open, while still playing in a highly competitive league. I’m excited for the challenge.”

The Penticton Vees president says the team is excited to have McKamey join them.

“This is an exciting moment for the BCHL and obviously our organization. Eli McKamey is an exceptional talent that was rated as the number one forward for the past WHL draft,” said Vees’ president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson. “Eli will be the next young elite player to wear a Vees jersey with the hope of winning a championship in Penticton on route to college and the NHL.”

BCHL says the framework was established to grant early eligibility for players “who possess exceptional traits in hockey and athletic acumen, mental and physical maturity, work ethic and education.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Eli and the McKamey family to the BCHL,” said league commissioner Steven Cocker. “Eli not only possesses an elite skillset to transition to the league, but has the intangibles off the ice that will allow him to excel as an exceptional student athlete in college hockey and beyond.”

“The level of talent and interest in the BCHL has never been stronger. We look forward to continued growth as a leader, not only in the development of great athletes for college hockey, but great people as well.”

The Penticton Vees are currently playing in the finals for the Fred Page Cup. If the team wins, it would be its third year in a row coming away with the cup.

SEE ALSO: Victoria defenceman picked 2nd overall in WHL Prospects Draft

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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