CHL eligibility for NCAA

This topic has blown up in recent weeks, as the NCAA may allow Canadian Juniors players to be eligible for U.S. college hockey.

Will NCAA coaches vote to allow CHL players to play U.S. college hockey? (

This would radically change college hockey, and I’m just starting to read up on the subject.

In the past this was a non-starter for the NCAA because CHL players could start in juniors and use the NCAA as a back-up plan, thus weakening the college hockey talent pool, but D-1 is now overwhelmingly comprised of U.S. players.

My first thought without any real research if I’m a college hockey coach is: I need a recruiter who is a) Canadian, 2) knows Canadian junior A, B, C through Z from B.C. to Newfoundland, or 3) both.


A lot probably depends on how NHL clubs and the agents/advisors view the NCAA. NCAA has grown as a development path to the NHL but are they 100% sold on that model. If not I think the NCAA would lose some top end talent to the CHL but possibly gain a large amount of mid range talent.

A very complicated case. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous.

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A Lot of strands to keep in ol’ Duder’s head.

I lived in two WHL markets - Seattle and Everett - and had a fairly strong connection to the Silvertips through my kid’s minor hockey involvement and through his Canadian coaches. As a Bantam he worked out in the summer with several of the Tips’ players. He also played some summer hockey with the Vancouver Junior Giants in South Delta.

The American WHL teams always liked having one or two local American kids on their roster - mostly to stimulate local interest. But we all knew their primary mission was to develop Canadian talent for the Olympics and NHL. Many US kids seemed to be cut right before their age-out year.

If our local kids were college material and had the requisite on-ice skills, most of our coaches steered them through the NAHL, USHL or prep route to D3 or D1 hockey. .

The recent trend, as I have understood it, has been that many blue chip Canadian kids have been choosing to go the NCAA route rather than play in the CHL. That’s led to lots more NCAA guys going to the ECHL, AHL and the Show than ever before…

It’s interesting that the NCAA is considering letting CHL age-outs play varsity college hockey in the US.

It will be a complicated issue, for certain…

I don’t know if that is the case. In the 2023 draft it looks like only 10 of the 69 players drafted that have college committments are out of Canada. Only one of those went in the first round, the rest were round 3 or later. So a few mid to low tier NHL prospects are at least considering NCAA over the CHL.

The CHL had 80 players drafted, 25 of them in rounds 1 and 2 and another 25 in rounds 3 and 4.

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Thanks for clarifying.