The BCHL has officially announced that they have accepted their first-ever player with Exceptional Player Status with 2009-born forward Eli McKamey committing to the Penticton Vees for the 2024-2025 season.

The 15-year-old McKamey is allowed to join the Vees next season with the status and wouldn't have been eligible to join the team till the 2025-2026 season without it due to his age.

The Vees' new forward originally hails from Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, put up 48 points in 28 games with Shawnigan Lake School U18 Prep of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) during the regular season and added 7 points in 3 games during the playoffs with 4 of his points coming off of goals.

Scouts currently have him as a highly touted prospect who will enter the NHL draft in 2027.

"I believe playing for the Penticton Vees is a great opportunity for development as a player and as a person," said McKamey in a BCHL release. 

"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 Board of Governors for the BCHL approved a vote back in January to allow Exceptional Player Status into the league. Those who qualify must have exceptional traits in hockey and athletics, mental and physical maturity, as well as work ethic and education.

"We are thrilled to welcome Eli and the McKamey family to the BCHL," said league Commissioner Steven Cocker said in a BCHL release. 

"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 Vess currently lead 2-1 in their series with the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL BC Division finals. On the Alberta side, the Brooks Bandits hold a 3-1 lead over the Sherwood Park Crusaders. The winners of both finals will meet in an ultimate showdown to claim who is the best in the BCHL.