Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
The Kontinental Hockey League’s Board of Directors has approved changes to the Women’s Hockey League regulations for the seasons 2021-2022, 2022-2023, 2023-2024, and 2024-2025. Beginning with the 2023-2024 season, the age for players to acquire Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) status will be lowered by two years: from 27 to 25 years old.
According to the WHL’s 2017-2023 Strategy, participating in professional player development is one of the League’s priorities. The league lowered the age of the UFA status in order to increase the appeal of women’s hockey for girls and to encourage players to return to an active career when they go on maternity leave.
In preparing the change, the experience of other women’s sports leagues and championships was taken into account, the reasons for early career endings were studied, and the age characteristics of female hockey players were analyzed. As of the 2023-2024 season, a WHL player can become an unrestricted free agent in the following cases:
If a player is 25 years of age or older at the time her contract expires;
If a player is under the age of 25 at the time her contract expires, and has not received a qualifying offer from her former club by Apr 30.
Angelina Goncharenko, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod’s defenseman:
“Lowering the age of the UFA status is very important for the development of women’s hockey – it’s a correct strategic decision of the League primarily for the future generations of female hockey players. I know many players who, for various reasons, ended their professional careers early and had fewer opportunities to restart them. 27 is a serious age for women’s hockey, most national team leaders are younger. Also, lowering the age will open up more opportunities for female players to return to the sport after having a baby.”