Birth month and professional hockey

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by plusandminus, Sep 17, 2011.

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  1. plusandminus

    plusandminus Registered User

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    Below are number of players born during different months.
    It's based on data from hockeydb's databank, where position="d" (I know that's not ideal, but perhaps good enough to give a hint).


    From 1960 onwards, January born players occurs twice as much as December born players.
    This is something that have been known for quite a while, and there are articles and (I assume) research published on the Internet, but I list it anyway.
    I haven't looked any deeper (and don't think I intend to in the near future), to see how this applies for say hall of famers, top 10 scorers per season, etc.

    It's probably not worth considering when making the rankings (?), but I list it anyway. (I don't intend to have a discussion on it, just mentioning it as a factor that seem to have affected players' chances of success during the last decades. Who knows, if you really cannot decide between two players, chosing the one born later in the year may be slightly better than flipping a coin.)
     
  2. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    There was a chapter in "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell addressing this topic.

    I read the book when it was first published (2008?), so I'm going from memory, but I believe he argued that people born earlier in the year have an advantage in organized sports compared to people born later in the same year.

    For example, suppose there are two 11-year-olds playing in a pee wee league. John was born in January (so he's 143 months old, and nearly 12). Jack was born in December of the same year (so he's 132 months old, and has just turned 11). Even though they're born in the same year, on average John will be bigger, stronger and faster due to having an extra 11 months to develop.

    The theory goes that coaches will give John more ice-time (because the difference between an 11 year old and someone who's nearly 12 is very significant). This in turn allows John to gain more confidence, skills and experience that will allow him to be more successful for the rest of his career. Thus, even ten years from now (when the physical difference between an average 21 and 22 year old is minimal), John will still likely be the better hockey player due to what he learned earlier in his career.

    ====

    I think that this is an interesting topic, but I don't think it does (or should) have any impact on this project. For example, Ray Bourque was born very late in the year (December 28, 1960) - but we can't "adjust" his birthday to June 30th and argue that he would have won an additional X Norris trophies.
     
  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Old vs Young


    The presentation above is interesting but requires additional data.

    The example illustrates the issue if the minor hockey association or region is bound by the "Minor" = first year of a category and "Major" = second year of a category. If the two years are blended = play together, then the gap illustrated above can run as much as 24 months less a day, at which point a youngster may be severely disadvantaged in his hockey development.

    The key is proper skill evaluation and monitoring of development.Will not get into details since this is not the appropriate thread.BTW the same theory applies in education. Youngsters born at the start and end of the school year develop differently.

    Re Ray Bourque. The initial post by "plusandminus" went back to 1960. Hockey Quebec finally joined the mainstream of hockey in Canada by adopting the actual calendar year as the hockey year app three seasons ago.Previously it was October 1, so in Quebec Ray Bourque was not an end of year but a first quarter, likewise Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy who were both very early October births.

    Also one has to balance this with the September 15th eligibility date for the NHL Entry Draft - re-vist Ovechkin's draft year.
     
  4. plusandminus

    plusandminus Registered User

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    Interesting. I actually had those three guys in my mind, and thought about mentioning them as exceptions and examples of that one can be very successful even if born late in the year. But according to you, they too were examples of "first quarter" players.
     
  5. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Individual Context

    In regards to "Hockey Age" every situation should be treated as unique since the developmental curve for each player varies depending on starting age, association and team structure, regional factors, provincial/state and national factors.

    Also within the last generation you have the growth of non-federated elite AAA summer hockey in North America which accelerates development.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  6. Dreakmur

    Dreakmur Registered User

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    Spring hockey accelerated burn-out as much as it accelerates development.
     
  7. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    This was both off-topic to the other thread and worth talking about further. So it gets its own thread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  8. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Thank You

    TDMM. Thank you for the spin-off thread.
     
  9. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Debatable.

    Debatable. Not going into details over a short unsubstantiated statement but in the province of Quebec the positives outweigh the negatives especially when it comes to various time ratios - travel, practice, games, competition, etc.
     
  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Details

    1960 onwards tends to reflect the shift to the calendar year as the "Hockey Year" which started in the early 1970's but did not come into effect in a uniform fashion in all hockey regions across Canada and the rest of the hockey world. The pre 1960 numbers tend towards previous "Hockey Years" which tended to respect the school year.

    The numbers you present are blended, not divided by country or hockey region within a country. This creates interesting situations since in various hockey regions, school hockey dominated or dominates and the schools followed the school year when it came to defining the hockey year. Also as stated previously, Quebec did not follow the rest of Canada until recently.

    The data merits study but various components have to be looked at as well.
     
  11. Teus

    Teus Registered User

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    I wonder if the reason why a lot players were born in March has something to do with the playoffs ending in June. :laugh:
     

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