Diffusion of Hockey Analytics

Applying Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory to understand the adoption of hockey analytics

As fans, we all watch, follow and engage with the game very differently. Hockey analytics really is a supplement to our experience with the game, much like gambling, fantasy league and video games. What a person pays attention to during a game depends on their own experience, including their biases and preferences.

Aside from the information it’s creating and the impact it’s having on the game, hockey analytics is first and foremost a method of engagement with the game. Fans are far more than passive consumers and have used the communication technology available to fully immerse themselves in an active, participatory culture.

Having said that, hockey analytics is an innovative way to understand the game as fans try to detect some sort of meaningful patterns. Again, it’s not for everyone, but the fact is analytics, especially the work fans and bloggers are doing, can possibly change how the game is being played.

And like any innovative idea or product, it tends to go through a process to become adopted by the masses. Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory (1964) in particular, provides some context to the current dissemination of hockey analytics.

A summary of the Diffusion of Innovation theory from UTwente:

Diffusion research centers on the conditions which increase or decrease the likelihood that a new idea, product, or practice will be adopted by members of a given culture. Diffusion of innovation theory predicts that media as well as interpersonal contacts provide information and influence opinion and judgment.

Diffusion is the “process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over a period of time among the members of a social system”. An innovation is “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived to be new by an individual or other unit of adoption”. “Communication is a process in which participants create and share information with one another to reach a mutual understanding” (Rogers, 1995).

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Weekly Links: Detroit’s new arena; Maple Leafs hire analytics expert; New rating system for helmets; Panthers no longer employ cheerleaders, and more

Source: CBC News

Source: CBC News

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • A closer look into the plans for the new arena for the Detroit and the critical issues pertaining to its development and maintenance. [Kukla's Korner]
  • Meanwhile, taxpayers in Pennsylvania are still paying a heavy price for the Penguins rink. [Broad Street Hockey]
  • The Arizona Coyotes are facing another legal hurdle as the local mayor alleges that the agreement struck between the city and the teams ownership group may have broken state laws. [Five for Howling]
  • In its attempts to improve its international ranking, and thus qualify to claim its host berth at the 2018 Olympics, South Korea’s men’s program has hired Seoul-born former NHLer Jim Paek as its head coach. [Puck Daddy]
  • Scientists at Virginia Tech are developing a new rating system to measure how effective various hockey helmets are at preventing concussions. [New York Times]

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Weekly Links: Backlash to Sharks’ “ice girl” decision; Imagining an expanded World Cup of Hockey; Thorold’s offensive First Nations logo

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • The San Jose Sharks plan to introduce “ice girls” next season, prompting many Sharks fans to express their anger at this decision – some have threatened to cancel their season tickets. [SI.com]
  • CTGray has a frustrated fans’ take on the sexism of the Sharks’ decision. [Fear the Fin]
  • Finally, Ryan Kennedy wrote an editorial about the lack of women in hockey outside of “ice girl”/cheerleader roles. [The Hockey News]
  • On the topic of sexism in hockey, if you missed Courtney Szto’s critique this week of Warrior Hockey’s marketing campaign please give it a read. [Hockey in Society]
  • Greg Wyshynski examines the offensive logo of the junior team the Thorold (ON) Blackhawks, which features a cartoon caricature of a First Nations man playing hockey. A movement is underway to have the logo changed and it appears likely to succeed. [Puck Daddy]
  • An interesting look at the history of skating rinks on Washington DC’s iconic Reflecting Pool, and an argument that it should be used as part of the Winter Classic festivities when the Capitals host the Chicago Blackhawks in January. [Puck Buddys]

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Making Warrior Accountable: A social media campaign

It was recently brought to my attention that Warrior is a horrible company.  When I say “horrible” I don’t mean that their equipment is horrible.  This is the same Warrior worn and used by Alex Burrows, Shane Doan, Ilya Kovalchuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Alexei Kovalev among others.  I myself purchased a Warrior Covert DT1 a few months ago. I love the stick, but I no longer love Warrior.  And, unless they change their sexist and misogynistic ways I will no longer be consuming any more Warrior products.  I encourage you to do the same.

I have never shopped on Warrrior’s website and I don’t follow them on social media, so up until last Friday I had no idea what Warrior considers “marketing”.  Someone on Twitter informed me that the following comment can be found on Warrior’s FAQ page:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.40.05 AM

 

Funny thing is that Warrior does serve “that” demographic, just not with women’s specific clothing or equipment.  And if you search “women’s,” this is what comes up:

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 6.55.24 PM

So, okay they don’t make women’s gear – they have made that abundantly clear. And no one is asking them to go out of their way to include women.  But then why does Warrior go out of its way  to make women (or men shopping for women) with the intent of purchasing its equipment feel like crap?  I’m going to go out on a limb and speak on behalf of all women athletes and tell you right now, we already feel like outsiders so there is no need to rub it in.  We know that there are very few women’s specific items on the shelves.  We know that even if we find something in a men’s that we like it probably won’t come in an appropriate size for us.  We know that hockey, lacrosse and soccer (the three sports that Warrior deals with) were not made for us.  No need to put it in writing. Read more of this post

Weekly Links: AHL Rule Changes; Decline of the KHL; Push for a CHL Players Union; Birth of the NHL; and more

Source: Tend the Farm

Source: Tend the Farm

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • The American Hockey League is implementing rule changes for the 2014-2015 season. Players will now be penalized for playing without a helmet and the overtime format will feature a 3-on-3 component. [Puck Daddy]
  • With two teams contracting and fewer players making the move to Russia, Greg Wyshynski looks at the gradual decline of the KHL and what it could mean for the NHL. [Puck Daddy]
  •  A look into the history of how the NHL was started. An excellent piece. [Greatest Hockey Legends]
  •  Following the Blackhawks signings of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to multi-year contracts, a snapshot of some of the high player salaries in the NHL. [CBC Sports]
  • Nashville Predators forward Rich Clune opened up about his battle with alcoholism. [Rich Clune Show]
  • Ryo Hashimoto of Sapporo, Japan is attending the Columbus Blue Jackets training camp. Hashimoto is a member of the Japanese National Hockey program, and looks to be one of the first players from there to make it to the NHL. [The Score]

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Beyond the Stats: An Interview with Extra Skater’s Darryl Metcalf

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four

Los Angeles Kings

The popularity of hockey analytics continues to grow as fans, teams and the NHL embrace new methods of measuring team and player performance. The uptake of analytics is dependent on the individual doing the analysis, as each person has different opinions and biases regarding what impacts a game result and what doesn’t. As a result, a number of websites have emerged providing various levels of data and analysis, putting the onus on the end user to interpret it as they please.

It’s important to note that fans in particular have lead the charge when it comes to developing and discussing new ideas regarding the game. The online environment has been critical for the growth of hockey analytics as fans connect online, publish ideas and develop the knowledge that surrounds the game. In recent years, a number of data visualization tools such as Super Shot Search and Shift Chart, have been developed by fans making data accessible, readily available, and easy to use. A major shift has occurred moving fans from passive consumers of information to more active participants when it comes to developing new ideas and information.

Extra Skaterfor instance, has become a go-to source for anyone interested in learning about hockey analytics, including the modern metrics (i.e., Corsi, Fenwick, etc), and has established itself as a solid reference point for fans. The website uses and extends data from NHL.com and has worked collaboratively to include Vollman and Tufts’ Player Usage Charts. Recently, the website has expanded to include advanced statistics for major junior league (CHL) players, and partnered with Cap Geek to include players’ UFA statuses.

Darryl Metcalf, the man behind Extra Skater, was kind enough to answer some questions about the field of hockey analytics, his motivation for launching the website and the importance of the online fan community.

Tell us about yourself/profession background and how you got into hockey?

I played hockey growing up and have been a fan since I can remember, not unlike many kids who grow up in Canada. Today I’m a consultant for a web firm and work on Extra Skater in my spare time.

How did you get into hockey statistics and analytics?

My interest in stats comes from being a fan of the game and wanting to understand it better. I’m a baseball fan, too, and seeing the stats revolution there certainly had some influence.

Click to learn more about the data and information available at ExtraSkater.com

Click to learn more about the data and information available at ExtraSkater.com

What was your motivation to launch Extra Skater?

There was, and is, a lot of great info and tools on other stats sites like Behind the Net. I used those sites regularly but wanted to do more with the numbers so I started putting data into my own spreadsheets and playing around with different ideas. Eventually I got to the point where I thought other people might find useful what I was putting together, so I started developing what would become Extra Skater.

Where do you pull your information from for Extra Skater? How much time and effort does it take to maintain the website?

Most of the raw data comes from NHL.com, which publishes various types of reports for every game. Updates are mostly automated, so regular operation of the site doesn’t take much time, which lets me spend time improving it instead.

What has the traffic been like for Extra Skater? Which teams or players get the most attention?

Traffic has grown fairly consistently since I launched the site before the 2013-14 season, much like general interest in advanced stats, I think. I don’t have stats on the popularity of specific teams or players but I’d venture that this season the Leafs were the biggest draw. Many identified them before the season started as a sort of test case for advanced stats and attention to their stats was definitely high throughout the season and especially so during their eventual collapse.

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Weekly Links: NHL Draft reaction; Mike Fisher’s support for Hobby Lobby; Is the KHL a no longer a threat to the NHL?

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • Great read on the Skillz Black Aces, a Toronto boy’s team mostly composed of black youth, which had three of its former players drafted in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. [Color of Hockey]
  • Speaking of the NHL Draft, Steve Dangle interviewed hockey agents Aaron Schwartz and Darryl Wolski about their work, young players, and the Draft. [Leafs Nation]
  • Chris Johnston argues that, in light of signings of KHL players like Leo Komorov by NHL teams and the suspension of some teams, the KHL is not a threat to the NHL as a league/business. [Sportsnet]
  • The amount of the lawsuit brought by Steve Moore against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks, stemming from Bertuzzi’s 2004 attack on Moore, has increased based on expectations of future earnings. [Puck Daddy]
  • Mike Fisher tweeted his support of Hobby Lobby’s recent US Supreme Court victory. While his stance is controversial, Jason Kay argues that hockey fans should be supportive of his right to express his political views in a public forum. [The Hockey News]
  • An interview with Sean Ramjagsingh, one of the producers for EA Sports’ NHL 15, about the upcoming video game, which will be released in September. [Last Word on Sports]
  • With rumours swirling about NHL expansion to Seattle, and now Wayne Gretzky’s involvement in a potential ownership group, Gretzky’s agent has denied that he will be involved. [The Score]