Sean Day, a 15-year-old defenseman with the Compuware Under-16 hockey team, was granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada on Thursday.
The decision makes Day eligible for the 2013 Ontario Hockey League Draft; usually the draft is restricted to 16-year-olds.
The 6-foot-2, 194-pound blueliner has three goals and eight assists in 25 games this season with Compuware. Day was born in Belgium to Canadian parents, but currently lives in Rochester, Mich., and has played his minor hockey in the Detroit area, with the Little Caesars and Honeybaked programs before switching to Compuware this season.
"Sean Day should be very proud of himself in attaining exceptional player status," Ontario Hockey Federation executive director Phillip McKee said. "The evaluation process is very extensive and reviews all aspects of the player's life. We all look forward to seeing Sean continue his development as a player and person in the OHL next season."
Exceptional player status is determined by a special panel assembled by Hockey Canada to evaluate all aspects of Day's on- and off-ice abilities and maturity.
It's the third straight year a player has been granted exceptional player status, following Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad (2011) and Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid (2012). The only other player to receive the designation is New York Islanders center John Tavares (2005).
Tavares, Ekblad and McDavid all were chosen first in their respective OHL drafts.
The Ottawa 67's have the first pick in the 2013 OHL Draft, which will be held April 6, and reportedly are deciding between Day, center Travis Konecny and center Dylan Strome.
"We have to make the best choice for our team and we are going to do that," Ottawa coach/GM Chris Byrne told the Ottawa Citizen. "We continue to do our due diligence, and when the time is right to announce the name of our pick, we will do that too."
The decision by Hockey Canada does not change Day's NHL Draft status; he won't be eligible until 2016.