In case you missed it, the Communications and Technology program at the University of Alberta recently hosted a public lecture on hockey analytics. I really enjoyed speaking at the event as I got to connect my research as a student of the program with some of the real-life work bloggers are doing online.
I can’t say enough about Michael Parkatti, who put together a solid presentation on the fundamentals of hockey analytics. If you haven’t seen the presentation, you can access it on Livestream.
What was remarkable was how big of a response the session received. The session drew a full house at the downtown campus and has since drawn over 1,600 views online. I was especially blown away by its distribution on Twitter and the positive feedback we received.
Following the session, I received a few questions from attendees and others who caught the session online. I thought I’d share some of these and my responses.
Does the U of A host these public lectures often?
Different departments within the U of A have periodic public lectures. They really are a great way for the U of A to connect with the larger community and I really hope to see more of these. I highly recommend checking out the U of A calendar of events to see what’s coming up next.
The next public lecture hosted by the Communications and Technology program will be in conjunction with their Research Symposium in May, and will focus on cyber surveillance and privacy.
Will there be another session on hockey analytics hosted by the U of A?
As of this post, there are no plans to host another session.
Having said that, I really think a bigger venue, plus some additional speakers who have experience with hockey analytics and blogging, can draw another big crowd. Additional time for not only the speakers, but for questions from the audience, would also be critical.
I’m sure the topic of hockey analytics could even become it’s own conference if the right stakeholders got involved. Perhaps have several sessions throughout a day and have time for related research presentations.
Who attended the session?
The lecture was available to everyone, so it really was a good mix. I think the vast majority of people were professionals in downtown Edmonton who were likely hockey fans. We also had members of the Communications and Technology Faculty on hand, as well members of other departments. We also had a couple employees of the Edmonton Oilers as well as other bloggers involved in sports analytics.
Is the University of Alberta involved in any other research focused on hockey analytics?
I’m really unsure. I personally haven’t come across anything, but I’d love to see different departments teaching something hockey analytics-related. Maybe there’s a good topic for a graduate student to tackle, but the right support from faculty would be needed.
Is hockey analytics unique to Edmonton?
This is a question that’s been on my mind for a long time.
I really do think the Oilers fan community is one of the leading groups when it comes to hockey analytics. Throughout my research project, I tried to find blogging communities as active as the Oilers fanbase. There are definitely comparables, but Edmonton really stands out in terms of quality and quantity.
A few of the Oiler related blogs that deal with hockey analytics include: MC79Hockey, Boys on the Bus, The Copper and Blue, Lowetide, Cult of Hockey. Across these five sites, you can find an endless amount of data, collected manually (!) at times, covering every facet of hockey. It really is a collaborative network that draws daily discussion (and confrontation at times) and analysis from fans.
Edmonton is also one of the few cities that has a daily sports radio show that uses hockey analytics to supplement its programming. The Lowdown with Lowetide, hosted by Allan Mitchell, one the top bloggers in Edmonton, discusses current events but also brings in experts to discuss the advanced stats.
Feel free to comment below if you have any other questions or thoughts regarding the hockey analytics session.