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10-20-2010, 08:19 AM
Leslie Treff
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Jersey
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Originally Posted by Sports Archaeologist View Post
Good piece, the only thing is Gladwell never puts the relative age effect over and above all other factors. It is merely one factor among many. Most importantly, it is statistical, not deterministic. In other words, if you're born in September, you are not FOR SURE going to fail to make the NHL, and if you're born in January, you are not FOR SURE going to make it. You are just "more likely" in both cases. It all fits in with the book's theme - success and failure is not only due to hard work but also to circumstance.

Of course, if you are born in January you are not for sure going to make it, but he is saying that the likelihood of making it in hockey if you are born in the first four months of the year is much greater than if you are born in the later months. He quotes a 1980s study, which showed this to be the case. It has been concluded that it is because of the advantages that early in the year birth-month hockey players get in the beginning of their hockey playing days. What I am saying is that, if this was ever really true, it might not be true now or even in 2008 (when the book was published), and that before we accept this as a current hockey truism, it should be thoroughly checked out again. Perhaps there have been changes, perhaps its because more players are coming from Europe (where things are done differently), perhaps things I am totally not aware of. My point is that there has been at least some change and the sooner we can nail it down the better. Particularly since there are people in Canada making decisions based on these studies/books.

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