We examine the evolution of physical changes in professional hockey players in the context of the historical development of the hockey industry. The height and weight of 3,763 male Canadians who played major league hockey from 1909 to 2010 reveal a process of relative morphologic optimization as hockey player bodies grew in height, weight, and body mass index (BMI), with significant differences by birth cohort and region of birth. We also uncover a process of specialization by playing position and show that while hockey bodies were larger than average, the secular trend mirrored the experience of all Canadians, at least until recent decades when NHL rule changes and the secular obesity epidemic contributed to a distinct divergence.
J. Andrew Ross, John Cranfield and Kris Inwood
John Cranfield, Kris Inwood and J. Andrew Ross
Apparent discrimination against Francophones from Quebec by National Hockey League (NHL) teams is a controversial topic in the academic literature examining professional ice hockey recruitment. While consensus has coalesced around the contention of Lavoie and Longley that significant discrimination is evident in the under-selection of Francophones for NHL rosters, we consider further the role of differing physical size between the regional populations from which players are drawn. Recent research on regional size differentials and consideration in this chapter of the size of players drafted since 1970 points toward a reconsideration of differences in physical size as an influence on ethnic inequalities.