Starting next year minor hockey divisions will no longer be known by the names peewee, bantam, midget and other names that are commonly used.
Hockey Canada will now use alpha-numeric, age-specific division names – U7, U9, U13 through U21 – which will impact all minor and female hockey programs under the Hockey Canada umbrella.
The change was initiated by Hockey Canada and its 13 provincial and territorial members, including Hockey BC, and will be implemented nationally for the 2020-2021 season. Junior and senior teams are not affected by this change.
The move was first considered by regional hockey officials last fall, following concerns about the use of the Midget name for that division.
Winterhawks coach and executive committee member Mike Forward said the changes will definitely make the divisions simpler to understand.
“For those of us who grew up with the existing names, I think it’s easy to forget that it might not make sense to people who were new coming into it. So changing the division names to be more age reflective makes sense,” said Forward.
“Locally the reaction has been positive. There was terminology in some of those division names that was no longer appropriate in today’s climate.
“Hockey is for everyone, and I think changing the division names is another good step in that direction.”
Last year, Athletics Canada recently said it would pursue dropping the term midget as an age category descriptor.
In a release on Monday, November 4, Hockey Canada said it believes “hockey is a sport for everyone and wants all families to feel welcome.
“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,” said Hockey Canada in a press release.
Hockey Canada board of directors chair Michael Brind’Amour said the organization believes everyone should feel welcome in the game.
– with files from Tom Zillich