Ice Code

thinkerGreat explanation as to why hockey analytics is important for fans and the game as a whole. Unfortunately I can’t find the full article online to share, but the original source is below.

 

Accepting hockey analytics, then, requires more than brushing off your arithmetic skills and reading a spreadsheet. It requires a shift in thinking, embracing an uncomfortable amount of arbitrariness, accepting that a bounce is just a bounce and dumb luck can have more to do with a win  than grit or heart. Not to make too lofty a comparison, but it can sometimes feel like the difference between believing in a world of a higher order, of divine narratives and preordained plans, and seeing the word as a messy, arbitrary place. The numbers challenge some of the stories we used to explain the world, but they also introduce their own kind of complex beauty.

Fervent irrationality, after all, is what makes a fan a fan. But thinking about the percentages and probabilities doesn’t suddenly drain the magic from the sport – it just means watching the game more thoughtfully.

Hune-Brown, N. “Ice Code”. Sharp. April 2014: 94-95. Print.

 

 

Alberta Hockey Analytics Conference

Source: Ice Nation UK

Source: Ice Nation UK

Had the chance to meet up with a group of people interested in hockey analytics this past Saturday in downtown Edmonton. The event was hosted by Rob Vollman, author of The Hockey Abstract, and featured presentations covering the different sides of hockey analytics.

Here’s a quick recap of what we covered.

Sean Solbak of Frozen Pools talked about hockey analytics in the realm of fantasy league. Sean gave some insight into the algorithms used to predict points based on things like ice-time, shots, passes, possession and shooting percentage. Of course, capturing luck is always a challenge, but there’s definitely value in the models used by Sean to predict performance.

Next, Justin Azevedo of FlamesNation gave a presentation on possession stats like Corsi and some of the work he has done this past season tracking the Flames. Justin shared some of the patterns he found in the data he collected manually and also provided some insight into applying those findings to actual game situations.

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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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Hockey Fans and the Leviathan II: All Three Zones Tracking Project

Yochai Benkler

Yochai Benkler – Author of Penguin and the Leviathan

Corey Sznajder of The Shutdown Line is seeking funding for a project that will collect very unique hockey data.

Here’s a short description of the All Three Zones Tracking Project:

I am tracking zone entries & exits for every game of the 2013-14 NHL season and making the data available publicly through either an e-book or an online database. What I end up doing will depend on how much money is raised through this. In addition to this season, I may also track previous years and include playoff data.

If you’re at all interested in supporting Corey, follow this link.

A couple things to note:

  1. Corey is going to manually collect data that isn’t available anywhere else. It’ll be interesting to see how others will use it to develop new ideas and information.
  2. It’ll also be interesting to see what other projects focussed on hockey analytics and data collection could pop up that will utilze crowdfunding/crowdsourcing.
  3. Even if you’re not into analytics or you don’t think you’ll use the data collected by Corey, knowledge and information about the game will grow because of this project. Fans/bloggers will use this data to create new ideas and add to the current discourse that surrounds the game.

Related Links:

Hockey Fans and the Leviathan – The SuperFan

Questions following the Public Lecture on Hockey Analytics

Source: Edmonton Oilers

Source: Edmonton Oilers

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.

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Alumni Council Meeting – Last Lecture, Dinners on Us, Crowdfunding, Visit from President Samarasekera

Rutherford House

Rutherford House

Here’s a recap of the our Alumni Council meeting last week.

Congratulations to Professor Robert Burch of the Department of Philosophy for being selected as the Last Lecturer for 2014.

Faculty have always played a significant role in the experience of students, making this series a great link between Alumni and their professors. From the U of A Alumni site:

The Last Lecture Series asks a speaker to answer one question in the form of an engaging public lecture: “If this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?” This is an opportunity for a favourite faculty member to share his or her reflections beyond the bounds of syllabus in a fun, informal setting.

Dr. Burch received the most votes cast by students and will be giving his lecture on April 9th.

We also learned about the Dinners on Us program here at the U of A. Alumni have the opportunity to invite a current students to their home and provide them with a home-cooked meal, using the best Ivy and Wilde homeware. It’s a great way for students to connect with the larger community, especially those that have travelled away from home. If you’re at all interested, check out the Dinners on Us website.

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The Hottest Card on Ice: Reliving the NHL Pro Set Cards

Pro Set - 1990 Series

Pro Set – 1990 Series

Came across a pile of 1990 Pro Set hockey cards on a recent excursion to Toys R Us. I hadn’t seen the cards in its original packaging since I was a kid, so it was a nice nostalgic feeling.

It was great to relive the feel of the package, the way it tore open so perfectly and that feeling of excitement not knowing what gems would be in the pack.

Hockey card collecting, for me  at least, was one of my first “remix” experiences. You’d spend hours trying to collect cards through trades. But there were a number of  casino games that we’d play using the stats on the back of the cards. We checked out All online casinos in Canada reviewed by CasinoGuides.ca. The actual value and maintenance of the cards were never really considered, so we didn’t hesitate shuffling a deck and comparing stats.

I’m sure Toys R Us didn’t just happen to find a pile of these kicking around. Seem a little more calculated than that since they know the kids who collected these cards are parents now.

 

 

Hockey Analytics: The new wave of information and the online fan community that is driving the field

In case you missed it, the Communications and Technology graduate program at the University of Alberta hosted a public lecture on hockey analytics this afternoon in Edmonton.

        Link to full lecture on Livestream

        Event details including speaker bios

We had a great turnout in the classroom with people of various backgrounds in attendance. Along with hockey fans, there were members of the U of A faculty, students, bloggers and even employees of the Edmonton Oilers in the classroom.

I want to thank Michael Parkatti for his in-depth presentation of hockey analytics. Michael’s contributions to the field of hockey analytics have been extremely valuable and he continues to track game stats on his blog, Boys on the Bus. I really hope people left the session with not only a better understanding of hockey analytics, but also an appreciation for the work fans have done online.

My main motivation for putting this session together was to promote the field of hockey analytics and really showcase the kind of work hockey fans are doing online. Hockey analytics is still many years behind other sports in terms of tracking and collecting data. But there really is a lot of potential for continued growth and development of hockey information.

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Free Public Lecture on Hockey Analytics

Happy to announce that I’ve put together a short public lecture on hockey analytics, scheduled for  Wednesday March 26th at the University of Alberta.

Here’s the general description of the session:

The field of Hockey Analytics continues to gain importance as more stakeholders, including fans and teams, are examining data and developing new ideas regarding the game. With the advancement of communication technology and analytic tools, fans have taken a greater role in developing new methods of measuring team and player performance. New ideas are often communicated and developed amongst fans through blogs, message boards and other social media tools.

I’ll be joined by Michael Parkatti, a hockey analytics blogger at Boys on the Bus . Michael has extensive experience with hockey analytics and will be providing an overview of the field as well as the current concepts.