Hockey Scouting in the Modern Age: An Interview with Victor Carneiro of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

hockeyscoutingWith the development of communication technology such as the web, social media and mobile technology, information pertaining to hockey has increased both in size and importance. The NHL, their broadcasters and media outlets are producing an astounding amount of content delivered on an array of platforms. Fans continue to demand information, and have played a key role in the development of new hockey related content. And of course, hockey teams are also acquiring as much information as they can for managerial decisions and to improve on-ice performance.

Not only has the amount of and demand for information increased, but many more channels between all stakeholders to share and develop information have opened as well. Teams however, are understandably restricted as to how much they can publicly disclose, mindful of the competitive nature of their business. Scouting in particular, which is relied upon to draft and acquire players has evolved in…

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Importance of Hockey Analytics II

Source: Zimbio

Source: Zimbio

Originally posted at Hockey in Society.

It’s been remarkable to see how quickly the field has developed over the past few years. The amount of new information being derived from hockey analytics has grown and continues to be discussed across a large and diverse online community. And while the focus has rightfully been on the hockey data and extracting meaningful patterns, it’s important to assess some of the foundational concepts that have supported the development and growing popularity of hockey analytics.

Analytics in any industry is a continuous process. Regardless of what patterns are found, new questions will arise to continue advancing the discussion initiated by analytics. Hockey analytics is no different as it really is a never ending process to uncover, share and build upon new information. Because it pertains to professional hockey, there is new data available almost every day and involves analysis from anyone that’s interested in the topic. The game itself, including the off-ice business (i.e., trades, free agency, draft) is highly chaotic and at times unpredictable.

Related: Importance of Hockey Analytics – Hockey in Society (2012, June 11)

What makes hockey analytics, or any sports analytics unique, is that it’s being done in an open environment that allows for anyone with basic analytic and communication technology tools to join the discussion. Using blogs and Twitter, participants have created a very collaborative environment that supports discussion and the continuous extension of ideas and information.

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Deconstructing the Jersey Toss

"The medium is the message." (1964)

“The medium is the message.” (1964)

Originally posted at Hockey in Society.

The jersey of any sports team, professional or not, holds a history, a story, and many different meanings. The message that resonates with any sports jersey is different depending on who is involved in the communication process. To some, the jersey simply designates who plays on what team. For others, a jersey holds significant, personal meaning which can be immersed in a narrative to build and share.

During two embarrassing losses on home ice this past season, two Edmonton Oilers jerseys were tossed by fans on to the ice. Both were acts of frustration and disapproval towards the club and their miserable performance. Many understood why the fans threw the jersey, while others, including Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens, questioned why the jersey was used as the medium to send a message.

“I’m from (Edmonton). You’re not just disrespecting guys in the room you’re disrespecting guys who wore the jersey before us … Messier, Gretzky, they all take pride in wearing that jersey. You’re a fan, you get to say and do whatever you want, call me whatever name you want, but when it comes to that logo, that’s a sacred thing for us. It’s disheartening for me to see our fans treat it that way.” (

The crumpled jersey on the ice for all to see was significant because it was an extreme response to a poor performance. It brought to light the narratives, history and meaning we each have as fans of the team. And, aside from the disrespect to the past players as Scrivens pointed out, the toss of the jersey also challenged and disrupted the traditional communication channels sports fans have established with their team. Continue reading

Fan Involvement in a Sports Team’s Decision Making

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

 By Sunil Agnihotri

Professional sports team owners and management strive to draw and retain fans by assembling a quality product in order to sell tickets and merchandise. There are numerous factors that influence how well a professional sports team draws fans: on-ice success, local economy, local sports market, demographics, to name a few. It’s crucial for teams, regardless of the external factors, to connect with fans and give them a reason to continue watching and attending events.

With the development of technology, including the rapid ascension of new interactive platforms and tools, the demand of the fans have evolved. This in turn has put the onus on sports team and leagues to adapt and accommodate to their relationship with fans. One recent study (Hyatt, C., et al, 2013) examined this new breed of fans and provided recommendations on how professional sports teams can implement new ways of drawing…

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Edmonton’s November Project – Building Community Through Fitness

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

By Sunil Agnihotri

A few weeks ago, I saw an interesting tweet from Andrew Ference, the newest member of the Edmonton Oilers.




November Project

If you’re not familiar with the November Project, it’s  a year-round, outdoor group fitness class for anyone and everyone to join for free. It was started by a small group of people in Boston who were looking to get into shape without having to splurge on expensive equipment and memberships. Pretty quickly, using social media to announce locations, their sessions grew, with some workouts involving over 300 people. Today, the November Project has been established in Madison, WI and San Francisco. It really is a grassroots movement that emphasizes community and fitness.

One member of…

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Beyond the Stats: An Interview with Rob Vollman

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

By Sunil Agnihotri

The field of hockey analytics took a big step with the recent release of Hockey Abstract, a book which aims to provide a guide to statistical analysis in hockey. As more and more people, including fans and professional teams, seek a deeper understanding of the game, hockey analytics continues to grow and develop.

Author Rob Vollman currently provides analysis for ESPN, Hockey Prospectus, the Nation Network and Arctic Ice Hockey. He was kind enough to provide some additional insight into hockey analytics and what its role is in the game.

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Challenges Facing the Hockey Analytics Community

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

Edmonton Oilers' Bill RanfordBy Sunil Agnihotri

Hockey analytics is continuing to gain prominence, both as a tool for professional teams to make on-ice decisions and for fans who want to better understand the game. The online fan community has really been the driver of hockey analytics as they seek to answer questions and contribute to the information and knowledge that surrounds the game.

But with all the great advances there have been in hockey analytics, some challenges are surfacing that could potentially slow down the online community that drives it. I’ve tried to outline the few that I’ve noticed and that other knowledge-based communities have faced. I also reached out to a few members of the online hockey analytics community and embedded their responses.

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“Two Types of Fans”: Exploring the Relationship between the Edmonton Oilers and their Supporters

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

By Sunil Agnihotri

As the Oilers headed into their seventh straight off-season without a playoff appearance, the Edmonton Oilers announced the replacement of General Manager Steve Tambellini with former Oilers captain and coach, Craig MacTavish. At the press conference, John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal pointed out that the same management team that was in place before Tambellini’s dismissal was back in charge.

“How are fans going to be reassured that the group that left the mess that Tambellini couldn’t quite clean up is now going to be cleaned up by the guys who left the mess to begin with?”

Kevin Lowe, President of Hockey Operations for the Oilers, clearly irked by this question, responded with this:

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Hockey Insiders and Social Media

Hockey in Society / Hockey dans la société

By Sunil Agnihotri

Social media has naturally integrated into professional hockey. Not only can fans use social media tools to get access to information and to connect with other fans, but they can also play a role in the development of information surrounding the game. For example, fans can get up-to-the-minute injury reports for their favorite teams, but they can also provide their own review and analysis of games and share unique content with an online fan community. Social media has allowed fans to transition from simple consumers of content to more active producers and distributors of content.

The popularity of Twitter among professional hockey is evident based on the number of accounts held by fans, players and teams. Breaking news, trade rumors, and  game analysis is regularly shared on Twitter making it a critical tool for individuals and organizations to get engaged with the game of hockey. Broadcast networks…

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