A historical examination of relative age effects in ...

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Title A historical examination of relative age effects in Canadian hockey players
Author(s) Nick Wattie, Joseph Baker, Stephen Cobley, William J. Montelpare
Journal International Journal of Sport Psychology
Date 2007
Volume 38
Issue 2
Start page 178
End page 186
Abstract The relative age effect (RAE) shows that the older one is relative to one's peers in the same grouping or junior sport team the greater the probability of eventually becoming an elite athlete. The present study tracked the existence of the RAE among elite male and female Canadian ice hockey players and investigated the relationship between relative age and performance at the elite level. Year and month of birth as well as several performance measures (career games played, goals, total points, assists) were collected using the Hockey Hall of Fame Registry for males (N = 4195) and data from the Canadian Women's National Championship in 2004 (N = 150) and in 2006 (N = 172) for females. Players' birth-dates were organized by month into quartiles (Jan-Mar, Apr-June, July-Sep, Oct-Dec). Analyses revealed significant differences among quartiles in NHL players born after 1956 (X2 ranging from 8.31 to 28.02, all p < .05), suggesting that the relative age effect first manifested in the NHL within the late 1970s (average age of player entry into the NHL 21.8 years). No RAE was observed among birth quartiles in elite women players (p = .355). Further, there were no relative age discrepancies in career performance measures in the male players. These data reinforce the notion that the RAE is a complex phenomenon likely with a multitude of social and cultural antecedents. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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