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CHL Scholarships – 18 Months

by Jason Nadeau

CHL Scholarships – The Most Important Fact Not Typically Included in Your Standard Player Agreement

I previous wrote an article about ‘What a CHL contract actually covers’ which covered the basics on a WHL or OHL Standard Player Agreement. One of the most interesting and important fact that is not typically included in these contracts is the focus of today’s discussion.

I get asked all the time by concerned players and parents about how and when they can use their hard earned Scholarship money. The reason this question comes up frequently is that this issue is not directly addressed in most standard player agreements. These contracts cover how players earn their scholarship entitlements, just not much else.

The how’s and why’s of when they have to use their scholarship money is not provided in written form to most players. Instead, the details are conveyed through informal discussion with management or through the past-player ‘grape-vine’ as it were. Here are the basic facts as I have come to understand them over the past 10 years.

18 Months or Bust

Once a Player’s playing career is over, he has 18 months to ‘use it or lose it’. If they do not use the scholarship money they’ve earned by that point, at their ‘designated institution’ or acceptable alternative, they lose the entire amount.
This is why you see a lot of veteran players sign an AHL or ECHL contract, play one season and then go back to school. They have a very real deadline to consider if they want to secure their academic future.
Today we won’t discuss the fairness or potential repercussions this policy has, that’s an entirely different article!

When Does the 18 Months Start

Here is one of the ‘grey areas’ that arises. My understanding is that, once your ‘Junior’ career is over, your ‘18 Month Clock’ starts. However, what happens if a player is cut down to Tier II Junior A or if he leaves the OHL/WHL to sign in the QMJHL? Who decides the exact date that this clock begins? What if he quits or is cut from his OHL team at Christmas but doesn’t play again until the next season at a lower level on a US Junior team? What about when a player turns 20 years of age, but is not bought back because teams can only carry 3 ‘over-aged’ players.

Overall, my interpretation is that your clock begins at the end of your ‘junior’ career which by CHL definition would be when you are too old to be eligible to continue playing as an ‘over-aged’ player.

In the very least, this is a question you should ask before you sign your contract or ask now if you have already signed and do not know the answer. And if anyone has updated information that I am unaware of, please drop me an email so that I can correct any mistakes or omissions.

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