It would be in the best interest of the NHL to begin generating and providing more advanced data for fans to work with.
The amount of hockey statistics has come a long way. Along with goals, assists, points and penalties, the league now provides even greater details, breaking down results by period, by division, arena, etc.
Fans have demonstrated a high demand of statistics which are used in debates with other fans, their own blogs/commentary, fantasy leagues and gambling. Some have even used statistics to create visual representation of the game. For example, TimeOnIce (ex. game number 30311) shows which players were playing with and against to give fans an idea of who the coaches tried to match up.
To really stay relevant and remain a valuable source for information, the NHL needs to join the community of fans who use stats regularly for their own purposes. Two things need to be done:
1. Expand the amount of data being captured. For example, tracking player mistakes, similar to what the Cult of Hockey does, could be done. For an example of advanced hockey analytics, see BehindTheNet.
2. Make the data easy to work with and share. Provide the statistics, but also tutorials on what it is and how to use and share it. Anyone with basic computer skills should be able to learn some export and embedding functions to use the information on their blogs.
The object of these statistics should be to encourage fans to do something with it. Hockey fans are more than just consumers. Blogs and fan videos demonstrate the creativity of a community passionate about their sport. Sport fantasy social clubs show us that fans are involved and committed. Some even bet on sports! Look at this, CompareTheBets’ List of Promo Codes. From that, we can all deduce that lots of people do it! It’s also imperative to reach out to new fans and teach them about the game. The best way learn is to be active and engaged with the material available.
If the NHL doesn’t provide the content fans need to create their own material, it won’t matter. Fans will find a way to get things done. The league can either be a part of the community’s movement towards active fandom or a spectator of creative content.