In today’s NHL, analytics can give teams a competitive advantage over opponents.
The growth and importance of hockey analytics were two key takeaways from the fourth annual Hockey Analytics Conference at Carleton University in Ottawa. The international conference focuses on the collection, analysis, and application of hockey data.
The conference was established in 2015 by Dr. Shirley Mills and Dr. Michael Schuckers. Mills is an associate professor of mathematics and statistics at Carleton University. She is also an executive director of the Statistical Society of Canada. Schuckers is a Rutherford professor of mathematics and a professor of statistics at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He is also the director of the Peterson Quantitative Resource Center.
Field work presentations of hockey analytics highlighted this year’s conference. There were many presenters who ranged from amateur statisticians, like Campbell Weaver, to popular professionals, such as Micah Blake McCurdy of HockeyViz, Brian Macdonald of Greater Than Plus Minus, and Asmae Toumi of Hockey-Graphs.
This year’s lineup included presentations that examined topics such as ‘The hot hand theory in hockey’; ‘Estimating the causal effect of injury on performance’; ‘Hockey player mapping with deep convolutional neural networks’; and ‘Isolating individual impact on team shot quantity and quality’, among others.
“We’re trying to show the diversity of the applications as well as the individuals,” Dr. Mills said. “[Hockey analytics is] not only in the game itself, but it’s analyzing individual players, the value of trades, the value of contract negotiations, the marketing side of business to get people into the stands, [evaluating] how happy are the fans, the training regime…every aspect”.
Additional applications include identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a player, a line or a team; deconstructing team strategies; improving player health, development, and performance; and making roster or line-up decisions.
Other conference highlights included a data visualization workshop; a panel discussion about analytics in other hockey leagues; a book launch for Rob Vollman’s most recent publication, Stat Shot: A Fan’s Guide to Hockey Analytics; and a conversation with Elias Collette, the Senior Business Data Analyst at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Vollman and Collette are role models for students who are passionate about both hockey and statistics. They turned their hockey passions and data skills into jobs with NHL teams. Vollman, a pioneer of hockey analytics, was recently hired by the Los Angeles Kings as their senior hockey analyst; Collette works for the Canadian Intellectual Property Office by day and as an analytics consultant with the Ottawa Senators by night. Tim Pattyson, who works for the Senators as their hockey data analyst, also attended the conference.
A recent article by Ian Mendes of TSN revealed the Senators intend to increase the role of analytics in their daily hockey operations this season. In this article, general manager Pierre Dorion told Mendes, “We will embrace the power of data and insights to measure our impact.”
It’s not surprising that presenters working for teams were careful answering questions, if they answered at all. Presenters were either vague or silent when responding to questions about team priorities, data collection methods, current or past data projects, inner workings, and capability.
Vollmer Photo Credit: Hiveminer.com
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the NHL’s Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter @BillyMorrison01.
Latest NHL News
- Reminiscing On Colts’ Preseason Predictions
- Chiefs-Raiders Preview: Secure Home Field
- Chiefs Opinion: Eric Berry Can Save Chiefs Defense
- Chiefs-Chargers Recap: Chargers Comeback, Stun Chiefs
- NFL Draft: Players to Watch in Saturday’s Bowl Games
- Chiefs-Ravens Recap: Resilient Rally In OT
- Chiefs-Ravens Preview: Something’s Got To Give
- FPC Buccaneers Round Table: Can Dirk Koetter Save His Job?
- Chiefs Sign Kelvin Benjamin
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Seven-Round 2019 Mock Draft
- Matchup Breakdown: Los Angeles Rams vs Detroit Lions
- Chiefs-Raiders Preview: Get Back On Track
- Chiefs-Rams Recap: Monday Night Madness
- Chiefs-Rams Preview: Game of the Year?
- Chiefs-Cardinals Preview: Take Care of the Birds
- Chiefs-Browns Recap: Cleveland Boys Takedown Browns
- Chiefs-Browns Preview: Take Care of Business
- Chiefs-Broncos Preview: Another Division Rivalry Sweep?
- Chiefs Week 7: Three Up, Two Down
- Three Up, Three Down- Chiefs-Patriots
- Chiefs-49ers Preview: The Home Opener Has Arrived
- Chiefs-Chargers Preview: Turning Out the Bolts
- Chiefs Defensive Backs: Projected 53 Man Roster
- Three Things to Watch For: Chiefs vs Packers
- Three Things to Watch For: Chiefs vs Bears
- Three Things to Watch For: Chiefs vs Falcons
- Chiefs Offensive Line: Projected 53 Man Roster
- Three Things to Watch For: Chiefs vs Texans
- Chiefs Tight Ends: Projected 53 Man Roster
- Chiefs Wide Receivers: Projected 53 Man Roster
- Chiefs Running Backs: Projected 53 Man Roster
- Chiefs 2018 Breakout Candidates: Defense
- Chiefs 2018 Breakout Candidates: Offense
- 2018 Chiefs Draft Review: KC Addresses the Defense and Needs
- Our Newest Titan: Rashaan Evans
- 2018 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule
- Chiefs Draft Prospect: Parry Nickerson
- Chiefs Draft Prospect: Dorance Armstrong Jr.
- Chiefs Complete More Signings
- Chiefs Officially Release Tamba Hali and Ron Parker
- Chiefs Ink Sammy Watkins and Anthony Hitchens
- NFL Free Agent Tracker (Live Updates)
- Chiefs Free Agent Targets: Backup Quarterback
- Gronkowski Retires from Patriots after Nine Seasons
- Cowboys Solidify Safety Depth With Iloka Signing
- Light Foundation and Boston Bruins Alumni Once Again Provide the Ultimate Win-Win
- 30 in 30: Chicago Cubs
- AAF Week 7 Preview: Sunday Games