Hockey Canada has announced that they will be changing their traditional age group names to something a little more politically correct, following the same action from several other sports organizations. Age categories such as Hockey Canada’s “midgets,” "bantams" and “peewees” will be replaced by an age-descriptive name instead, in the hopes of being less-offensive.
Canada's governing body of hockey made the announcement on Monday saying that the change was in order to make the sport more inclusive.
Traditional names such as "novice," "peewee," "atom," and "bantam", will be replaced by names that are descriptive of the ages of the players, from under-7 to under-21.
In an official statement on their website, the organization explained, “At its Winter Congress this weekend in Montreal, the Hockey Canada membership approved a regulation change proposed by the board of directors to revise the naming of the age divisions used in minor hockey across Canada.”
“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,” the statement read.
The change comes as part of the league’s efforts to “make hockey more inclusive,” by making everyone “feel welcome" in the game.
Beginning in the 2020-21 season, the names of age divisions at every level of minor hockey will be simplified – Nov… https://t.co/9h7DLXA9tF— Hockey Canada (@Hockey Canada)1574117160.0
This follows a similar move from other organizations over the last few years, including BC Hockey and Athletics Canada.
Classification names first started to change back in November 2018, when the mother of a child with dwarfism reached out to their local youth basketball association in Ontario, after noticing the term "midget" on a banner at a mall.
Although the term has long been used as a youth age-category title across several sports, the word is considered to be a derogatory slur.
@HockeyCanada This is a good change aligns Canada with the rest of the nations under the IIHF classifications— David Pollak (@David Pollak)1574124312.0
@HockeyCanada Thank You! Change is hard, especially 4 the hockey community. I’m all 4 breaking traditions when ther… https://t.co/s7QSeSWi3g— Jennifer Maahs (@Jennifer Maahs)1574136806.0
@HockeyCanada Honestly it’s about time. It just makes sense and high performance programs have been doing it for y… https://t.co/4luaGbrVjR— Rob Fryer (@Rob Fryer)1574139664.0
While the announcement from Hockey Canada has been well-received by most hockey lovers, others took to Twitter to complain about the change.
One Twitter user asked, "Why change something that has been in place for 50 years when there is nothing wrong with it? Stupid change that doesn't need to happen."
Another added, "Pretty sad when politically correct runs the day."
A third responded to say, "Congrats on being wimps and cowering to the offended few..."
@yoda4720 @bster352 @HockeyCanada Why change something that has been in place for 50 years when there is nothing wr… https://t.co/2CX05KZqsG— RogueSasquatch (@RogueSasquatch)1574120009.0
@HockeyCanada @Airdrie_Stars Pretty sad when polically correct runs the day. 🤦🏻♂️— Jason (@Jason)1574134952.0
@HockeyCanada @HockeyCanada congrats on being wimps and cowering to the offended few... i think you need to go work… https://t.co/Mxrmj7P18R— dossharpshooter (@dossharpshooter)1574122740.0
@HockeyCanada STOP THE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS CRAP!!!!!!!— crush00keith (@crush00keith)1574126081.0
"We believe everyone should feel welcome in the game and in our on-going effort to make hockey more inclusive … We believe this change will simplify the system for families who may be new to the game," Michael Brind'Amour, chair of the Hockey Canada board of directors, explained in a statement.
This follows several big moves from other Canadian companies who are also attempting to be more inclusive.
Earlier this year, Air Canada announced that they'd be introducing gender-neutral terms on their aircraft by removing their traditional "ladies and gentlemen" greeting.
Hockey Canada confirmed that the change will be implemented nationally for the 2020-21 season.