Hockey players come in all shapes and sizes. More importantly, hockey players all develop at different rates and at different ages.
Each year, a player will compete against a wider range of skill and size. Here are some numbers: According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 12 year old boys have a 24 pound gap between the 25th and 75th percentiles for Weight-to-Age. It grows to 28lbs for 13 year olds and 30lbs for 14 year olds. Even if a 13 year old first year bantam is highly skilled, how can we expect them to fully perform and improve while playing against 14 year olds who have a 40 lb advantage? On the flip side, a player who is an early-bloomer, taller and heavier then every other player his own age also is short-changed. How can we expect them to be tested when they can simply push around the other players without relying on skill. Is it fair for a December-born player to be locked into a division where they will always be the youngest? It is fully documented that hockey's age-based divisions extremely favor early birthdays. USA Hockey has stated their focus is player safety and player development. I think great strides have been taken with the ADM program, but maybe more can be done?
I suggest that USA Hockey moves to a weight class system with more flexible age restrictions. Here's an example:
LEVEL - WEIGHT - MAX AGE
Atom - <50 lbs - 7
Mite - <70 lbs - 9
Squirt - <90 lbs - 11
Peewee - <110 lbs - 13
Bantam - <130 lbs - 15
Players would be organized by weight, but players over the MAX AGE would need to play in the next division.
Ex 1: An 85lb 12 year old
would be placed in the peewee division. Even though they weigh in for the squirt division, the max age for squirts is 11.
Ex 2: A 95lb 10 year old
would also be placed in the peewee division. The MAX weight for a squirt is 90lbs. There is no minimum age for divisions.
Weight classes don't make a perfect game. But if they can help prevent concussions and improve player development, USAH should do their due diligence and fully research moving to a weight class system.What do you think?Weight for Age Percentiles for Boys (2-20 years) CalculatorStudy suggests NHL has bias in favour of players born earlier in the year |ADMIN Edited: Image added by administrator 11:28am 10/9/2019