Jake's Take / Junior Hockey

Jake’s Take: What’s in a name

There are lots of things in this world for people to be justifiably upset about, and even if I don’t share the same opinion, I can typically emphasize where the person’s motivation is coming from.

But every now and then I just can’t, no matter how hard I try, wrap my head around the lengths people will go to to resist change.

Since Hockey Canada announced that it’s moving away from the traditional age group names like atom, peewee, bantam, and midget, in favour of the U-11, U-13, U-15 and so on, there have people a fare share of negative feedback online.

This, like many changes, has been met with some push back from some of hockey’s more traditional minds so to speak, who I think are more resistant to change in general, than the specific change in this case.

The thing is, Canada was one of the few countries who wasn’t already referring to their age groups by exactly that…their age. Other countries, and most other sports, have been using this distinction for a while.

Now before you take the time, energy, and emotional investment to get upset about something like this, think about how it will impact your kid.

Seriously. Ask yourself… Will this get in the way of my child enjoying the game?

If the answer is no, then save your outrage for something that is actually impacting your kid.

From my point of view, this makes it way easier, and makes the game far more inclusive for those on the outside looking in.

I love this game, and I want everyone to feel like they can be apart of it. If this helps get them in the door than so be it.

Also, speaking with several youth hockey players since the news came out, not one of them cared. Not one single player cared what their age group was called. They are commonly referred to by their birth years anyways, even among the parents.

So, why the push back??

I understand social media is mostly reactionary, and people have their guard up about change, and like I said, I can usually find a way to see where people are coming from. Even if I don’t agree with where that thought ends up, but I can’t with this.

The Ontario Hockey League implemented the Under-18 draft in 2017. You might have noticed that they didn’t call this the Major Midget Draft, or anything along those lines, despite the players being selected exclusively from the Ontario major midget circuit.

Instead, they elected to go with the “Under-18” term, which is already used by USA Hockey, among others. So the full fledged change should not be a surprise to anyone.

Nostalgia can be very powerful, but are people that nostalgic about what the age groups were called back when they were playing as a kid? To make this much of a fuss about it now?

If that’s the hill you want to die on so be it, but to me, there are several larger and more significant hills that are deserving of your attention.

But, that’s just my take.

Jake Jeffrey is the Editor of AroundtheOHL.com, co-host of Around The OHL Podcast, and assistant coach with the Strathroy Rockets Junior Hockey Club.

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