The relative age effect reversal among the National Hockey League elite
NHL, junior hockey, RAE
Like many sports in adolescence, junior hockey is organized by age groups. Typically, players born after December 31st are placed in the subsequent age cohort and as a result, will have an age advantage over those players born closer to the end of the year. While this relative age effect (RAE) has been well-established in junior hockey and other professional sports, the long-term impact of this phenomenon is not well understood. Using roster data on North American National Hockey League (NHL) players from the 2008–2009 season to the 2015–2016 season, we document a RAE reversal—players born in the last quarter of the year (October-December) score more and command higher salaries than those born in the first quarter of the year. This reversal is even more pronounced among the NHL “elite.” We find that among players in the 90th percentile of scoring, those born in the last quarter of the year score about 9 more points per season than those born in the first quarter. Likewise, elite players in the 90th percentile of salary who are born in the last quarter of the year earn 51% more pay than players born at the start of the year. Surprisingly, compared to players at the lower end of the performance distribution, the RAE reversal is about three to four times greater among elite players.
Original Publication Citation
Fumarco, Luca, Benjamin G. Gibbs, Jonathan A. Jarvis and Giambattista Rossi. “The Relative Age Effect Reversal among the National Hockey League Elite” PLoS One 12(8): e0182827.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Fumarco, Luca and Gibbs, Benjamin G., "The relative age effect reversal among the National Hockey League elite" (2017). All Faculty Publications. 2859.
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
© 2017 Fumarco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.