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Outliers in the AHL?

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Old
10-19-2010, 02:35 PM
  #1
Leslie Treff
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Outliers in the AHL?

This is a slow news day, so I thought that I would bring this up today. Hope I don’t bore you out there, but there is a myth going around in the hockey world that I wanted to at least begin to expose. Just about two years ago, a man named Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best-selling [...]

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10-19-2010, 04:13 PM
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SwedishBullet62
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Thats pretty interesting reading that i think it's possible during the earlier years of a players career. The way I see it a kid born say feburary first would be older and therefore more developed and bigger then a kid born in say late august, which would then mean that more developed assumably stronger kid is going to play better, be better, and thus develop better and/or quicker then the younger one. But on a higher level talent is still talent it didn't matter what month crosby was born or Ovechkin was hatched they were going to be great.

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10-19-2010, 05:51 PM
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Interesting. But, the birth month thing is erroneous.

Even IF it has a small factor in YOUTH hockey, as stated above a few months of extra maturation... It would even out and eventually be non-existent as they age.

If the kid born in December has a natural higher work ethic, he's GOING to be a better player because he will have worked harder to improve. That's only as youths.

Eventually both players will be equally as mature and developed because humans naturally stop developing in their early 20's. And after that any advantage is solely due to work ethic.

Even kids a couple YEARS younger eventually catch up and in some cases surpass the older players.

Anything else is merely coincidental.

But, still very interesting.

And I should add that hockey, like any profession, early on in one's career is equally as much about who you know as much as it is about your skill. Youth hockey and youth sports in general are like immature school. Popular kids will get an edge. Coach's sons and daughters and all their little friends will get an edge. It shouldn't be that way, but unfortunately it is. Politics rule every aspect of our lives.

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10-19-2010, 05:52 PM
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Really good stuff, Leslie.

And a real breathe of fresh air contrast to all the "sky is falling" crapola that's been going on here.

Great work.

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10-19-2010, 10:16 PM
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White Plains Batman
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LOL, if Gladwell's theory is true, then why do my friends born in June-November make more money and are more financially successful than me?

In all seriousness though, I've also heard that babies born in the spring-summer are happier than fall-winter babies because of more sunshine.

Who knows? It's interesting nonetheless as Messier and Gretzky are January babies but so is a Jamie Lundmark, while Crosby and Anze Kopitar are August, and Ovechkin is September.

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10-19-2010, 10:25 PM
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I think the early/late month argument is definitely legitimate at younger ages, but i think once people hit 20+ any advantage becomes minuscule to the point of not being important at all.

Definitely think that it holds true for younger kids, though.

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10-19-2010, 10:59 PM
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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.

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10-20-2010, 04:44 AM
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Ola
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Treff View Post
This is a slow news day, so I thought that I would bring this up today. Hope I donít bore you out there, but there is a myth going around in the hockey world that I wanted to at least begin to expose. Just about two years ago, a man named Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best-selling [...]

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Good article!

I think it shows the value of being good in order to become good, in the game of hockey.

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Old
10-20-2010, 08:19 AM
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Leslie Treff
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Quote:
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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10-20-2010, 08:28 AM
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Barbara Underhill
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My child is due in April good news for me guess I'll start planning my early retirement!

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10-20-2010, 08:49 AM
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allstar3970
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Treff View Post
This is a slow news day, so I thought that I would bring this up today. Hope I donít bore you out there, but there is a myth going around in the hockey world that I wanted to at least begin to expose. Just about two years ago, a man named Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best-selling [...]

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you do mention November/December being high, i dont know about most places, but I remember when I was in school in NY, many November and pretty much all December kids were held back a year before starting school, which would play into his theory even more.

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Old
10-20-2010, 10:19 AM
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Leslie Treff
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Originally Posted by allstar3970 View Post
you do mention November/December being high, i dont know about most places, but I remember when I was in school in NY, many November and pretty much all December kids were held back a year before starting school, which would play into his theory even more.
Actually, for hockey, kids are classified by birth year. It's not like school, where you can choose not to start school until the following September. So, all 94's are grouped together, then 95's, etc. etc. You can't opt out and wait. But my thinking is that everyone is aware now of the possible issue and has been for many years, so adjustments likely have been made so that younger kids in the birth year are no longer at such a disadvantage.

To be honest, my issue is less about those that know alot about hockey than it is about people who know less, particularly in the US, and who have read Gladwell's book. More than one person has said to me, "oh my son is born in August [or December or October], won't be playing hockey because all the kids will be so much older and bigger than him [meaning 6 or 8 months, which is alot at age 8]." It turns folks off hockey for their children before they even start. Not that many of these kids will ever be elite, but we are losing even non-elite kids by spreading this info. And it may be wrong. So, I am trying to drum up interest in having it looked at. That's all. As I said, a slow news day.

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