Hockey Canada will introduce new names for age categories next season.
Terms like peewee, bantam and midget will be replaced by U13, U15 and U18.
At its Winter Congress held in Montreal, Hockey Canada’s membership approved a regulation change proposed by the board of directors to revise the naming of age divisions used in minor hockey across Canada.
Michael Brind’Amour, chair of the Hockey Canada Board of Directors said the change is part of an effort to make the sport more inclusive.
“We believe everyone should feel welcome in the game and in our ongoing effort to make hockey more inclusive, the Members at the Hockey Canada Annual Meeting determined that the names of our age divisions will change,” Brind’Amour said.
“Following a comprehensive review, we believe this change will simplify the system for families who may be new to the game,” he said. “The new age division names will be implemented for next season.”
“Following the recommendations of a task team, the age divisions will become U7, U9, U11 through to U21, impacting all minor and female hockey programs under the Hockey Canada umbrella,” Hockey Canada said in a statement.
Andy Brookman, president of Hockey West Island, said he welcomed the change because it will harmonize age category terminology across the country.
“I don’t see what effect there will be except to make it homogenous across Canada. Finally, we’ll all be on the same (page). We’ll get rid of peewee, bantam and midget designation and go to U-13, U-15.
“It’s about time,” he added. “It makes sense and should have been done a long time ago.”
Brookman says he has not yet seen other age designations, such as ‘minor’ and ‘major’ used to denote first -or second-year players in age categories.
While he was not aware of anyone who took offence to terms like peewee or midget, Brookman welcomes the Hockey Canada’s initiative. “It didn’t strike me as offensive in the first place . . . but I thought this would have been done, five or 10 years ago to make it uniform across the country.”
Brookman said there was a bigger reaction from some hockey parents recently when minor hockey teams started using a half-sheet of ice for novice hockey.
“Some people didn’t like the idea, but it’s been amazing so far,” he said.
The age division name changes, initiated by Hockey Canada and its 13 provincial and territorial members, will be implemented nationally for the 2020-21 season, Hockey Canada said.
YEAR OF BIRTH AGE ON DEC. 31 AGE DIVISION
2014 and before 6 and under Under-7 (U7)
2012-2013 7-8 Under-9 (U9)
2010-2011 9-10 Under-11 (U11)
2008-2009 11-12 Under-13 (U13)
2006-2007 13-14 Under-15 (U15)
2003-2004-2005 5-16-17 Under-18 (U18)
2000-2001-2002 18-19-20 Under-21 (U21).
Source: Hockey Canada