Every year, at this time of the year, there are a number of 20 year old players (with birthdays in the first 4-5 months of the year) who have important decisions to make regarding school.

A player cannot play a junior game after his 21st birthday, without losing a year of athletic eligibility in NCAA Div 1 hockey, unless he is registered full-time in college.

Here are a few questions (and answers) regarding such….

What happens if I turn 21 years old during the junior hockey season?

If you play a junior hockey game after your 21st birthday you will lose 1 year of NCAA athletic eligibility leaving you with 3 years remaining.

Does this rule apply to Division II and III?

No. This rule applies only to Division I.

How can I turn 21 years old, continue playing junior hockey and still retain NCAA eligibility?

Using the NCAA “transfer rules” you can continue playing junior hockey after your 21st birthday and retain 4 years of athletic eligibility if, prior to your 21st birthday, you enroll full-time at a college institution that does not sponsor a hockey program. Although you will lose some of your 5-year academic eligibility as your 5 yr clock will start ticking you will not lose any of your 4-year athletic eligibility.