Hockey NZ has introduced the following rule and exemption for the U21 National tournament as they are to be written in the 2018 tournament rules:
"To be eligible to play in the National Under 21 Tournaments, the players must be under the age of 21 years old as at 1 January of the year in which the tournament is players and must be over the age of 18 years old as at 1 January of the year in which the tournament is played. (A player whose 21st birthday is on or after 1 January is eligible, a player whose 21st birthday is before 1 January is ineligible).
N.B Players who fit the criteria below are able to apply to Hockey NZ for an exemption to play in the U21 tournament.
- Nationally identified in 2017 at the U18 age group
- Remain eligible for the U18 National Tournament in 2018
- No longer attending a secondary school in 2018
Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with Hockey NZ, the region involved and the athletes."