I have been fascinated by the birth date issue in hockey since reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, The Story of Success and I wanted to follow up on an item I wrote in this space a little more than a year ago.
The 22-player roster for Team Canada’s national under-18 entry shows once again the benefits of being born early in the year. While there were four players on the team born in January, there were none born in December. Ten of the 22 players were born in the first quarter of the year and only three were born in the last three months.
If we go back to the summer evaluation camp when 40 players were invited, there are some absolutely remarkable birth date statistics:
• There were 29 players invited from the Ontario and Western League. All 29 players were born in the first half of the year.
• Quebec League forwards Sean Couturier and Gabriel Desjardins were the only players in the group of 40 born in the last 100 days of the year. There were 18 players born in the first 100 days of the year.
• Only five of the 40 players were born in the second half of the year.
• Of the 12 defensemen, 11 were born in the first half of the year.
While the World Junior Championship (U-20) was being played in Saskatoon and Regina, the 2010 World Hockey Challenge was held at the same time in Timmins, Ont. Canada was represented by five teams from across the country. The rosters of these teams graphically show the benefit of being born early in the year.
Of the 22 players on Team Ontario, six were born in January but only one in December (Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67’s). While 12 players were born in the first three months of the year, Ceci was the only player born after July 11. In total, 19 of the 22 players were born in the first half of the year.
Team Pacific was only slightly more balanced with 16 of the 22 players born in the first half of the year. As with Team Ontario, there were 12 players born in the first three months of the year and only one (Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades) born in the last three months.
Team West had eight players born in the first quarter of the year and none born in the last three months. Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips was the only player on the team born after August 25.
The story is much the same with Team Atlantic, which had seven players born in January but just one in December. Only two of the 22 players were born after July 1 and while there are 12 players born in the first quarter of the year, there were just two born in the last three months.
Finally, there’s Team Quebec, which had eight players born in the first quarter of the year and just two in the last three months. There were only three players on the team born after September 1.
In total among the five teams, there are 52 players born in January, February or March. Shockingly, there are just six players born in October, November and December.
If you read my article on this topic last year you know the birth date discrepancy is not a fluke. Last year 81 of the 110 players on the five Canadian teams in the tournament were born in the first half of the year. This year that number has grown to 84 of the 110.
It’s indisputable that kids born late in the year have much less of a chance succeeding in hockey when compared to those born early in the year and that’s not right. We have an unfair system in this country that has been ignored for far too long.
Rand Simon is an NHLPA certified agent. He has spent the past 15 years with Newport Sports Management Inc. You can read his other THN.com Insider Blogs HERE.