I'm an ELA teacher myself, and I'm with you on many accounts Dakkster!
The one distinction that should be made is when your example is used as an adjective:
Ex. Player X is a 29-year-old forward.
Although, I have to say, I'm also with Pengwin a bit too. Languages evolve. Things change. If the general public does something wrong long enough, it becomes right.
I recently read an article about how # could potentially become an official punctuation mark. The word "slash" is gaining momentum for a new meaning as a conjunction (filling in for "and/or"). Ex. I like to eat at McDonald's slash Burger King.
Things change, and we've got to be willing to change with them!
Points-only, Full Keeper Dynasty League
Active roster (no starts, just total points): 12 FW, 6 D, 1 Goalie
Forwards: Ovechkin, Thornton, Hossa, D. Sedin, Whitney, Ribeiro, B. Richards, M. Richards, Fleischmann, Kesler, Plekanec, Okposo, Alfredsson, Doan, Stastny, Frolik
Defense: Campbell, Goligoski, Gonchar, Timonen, Vatanen, Spurgeon, Zidlicky, Giordano, McBain, Visnovsky, Donovan, Muzzin
Goal: Luongo, Holtby
Farm: Ritchie, Clendening, Merrill