Canadian minor hockey dropping traditional age-group names

When it comes to minor hockey, say goodbye to Atom, Novice, Peewee, Bantam and Midget.

Say hello to Under-7 through Under-21.

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Hockey Canada announced the sweeping change to its age classification system — to take effect next season — during its winter congress held Monday in Calgary.

The new categories will be U-7, U-9, U-11, U-13, U-15, U-18 and U-21.

“It’s a transition to a more universal system,” said Mark Grambart, co-president of the Victoria Minor Hockey Association.

“It’s so that parents and kids new to hockey know exactly where they fit in. It makes the system easier to understand and is more transparent as we look to welcome new players to our sport to help it grow.”

Classifications such as Peewee or Bantam are traditional but mean little to people not familiar with youth hockey.

“There may be some people sad to see the historic names go, but I am not one of them,” said Grambart.

The change will be in effect across the country next season through all boys’ and girls’ programs under Hockey Canada’s purview, which encompasses pretty much all of youth hockey in Canada.

“We believe everyone should feel welcome in the game. In our ongoing effort to make hockey more inclusive, the members at annual meeting determined that the names of our age divisions will change,” said Michael Brind’Amour, chair of the Hockey Canada board of directors.

“Following a comprehensive review, we believe this change will simplify the system for families who may be new to the game.”

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