Forget pee wee, bantam and midget, now they will be called under-13, under-15 and under-18.
At its annual meeting, Hockey Canada revised the naming of all minor hockey age divisions used in minor hockey across Canada.
The minor hockey age divisions will become U7, U9, U13 through U21 impacting all minor and female hockey programs under the Hockey Canada umbrella for the 2020 – 2021 season. Junior and senior teams are not affected by this change, which was announced on Monday.
“Hockey Canada believes hockey is sport for everyone and wants all families to feel welcome,” said a press release. “They heard some concerns about an age division name and appointed a task team to review. This change aligns with the Hockey Canada brand in being inclusive for all.
This change also aligns with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) age division names and importantly, Hockey Canada believes it makes it simpler for parents to register their kids.”
Dave Lige, executive director for Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey, said the change has yet to cause any negative response in the association.
“I’m a bit nostalgic – the old names bring an emotional response,” he said, but added there was a problem with the word midget, which some consider a derogatory term.
Last year, Athletics Canada recently said it would pursue dropping the term “midget” as an age category descriptor, a move that came a few days after the Ontario Basketball Association stated its plans to do the same. The term has been used for decades in a variety of sports but many consider it to be a slur.
At the time, Allan Redford, the director of the Dwarf Athletic Association of Canada, applauded those developments and said he hoped others would follow suit.
Lige added ‘bantam’ was also used to describe a British army recruit who was under the minimum height of 5’3″.
“To be honest, once you wrap your head around the name change, it’s fine,” said Lige.
Other countries still name their divisions. In Switzerland age 10-12 are moskitos, in Germany ages 11 and younger are Kleinschüler (small pupils) and in France ages 10-11 are poussins (chicks).
However, in international competition, the age designated names are used.
“We believe everyone should feel welcome in the game and in our ongoing effort to make hockey more inclusive, the names of our age divisions will change,” said Michael Brind’Amour, chair of Hockey Canada board of directors.
“We have gone through a comprehensive review and believe this change will simplify the system for families who may be new to the game. I look forward to the new age division names being implemented for next season.”