Each WHL Club is allowed to place 50 players on its Protected Player List (PPL).
The 50 Player Protected List is used by the WHL to ensure there is an orderly method for WHL Clubs to access the playing rights to players. This equal access to the talent pool allows the WHL to promote competitive balance and order in the system.
A player may not be added to a WHL Club PPL until he is eligible for the WHL Bantam Draft, which occurs following the completion of his final season in the Bantam age category.
All players on a WHL Club's roster are required to be on the 50 Player Protected List. If a WHL Club active roster consists of 23 players, this leaves 27 spots available for future prospects. If a player on a WHL Club PPL no longer meets the expectations of the team, he may be replaced by another prospect. As a result, a List is constantly changing as teams evaluate their players and make adjustments to their PPL.
WHL Clubs are constantly evaluating player talent. The WHL Bantam Draft is only one step in this process. The following WHL stars were not selected in the WHL Bantam Draft but were added to a WHL Club PPL at a later date: Jarome Iginla, Darcy Tucker, Dan Hamhuis, Scottie Upshall, Joffrey Lupul, Jeff Woywitka, and Shane Doan, just to name a few. A player who is on a WHL Club's List may not play for another WHL team, or attend another WHL Club tryout camp. However, being a member of a WHL Club 50 Player Protected List does not restrict a player from playing for, or attending a camp of a non-WHL Club. The 50 Player Protected List is used strictly to determine which WHL Club holds the player's rights.
The WHL, along with the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League comprise the Canadian Hockey League. Territorial regulations are in place to ensure that a player may be selected by only one League.