Weekly Links: Popularity of NHL teams; Edmonton Oilers honor First Nations community; Charles Wang potentially selling majority share of Islanders; and more

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!

  • Bob Nicholson is set to resign as CEO of Hockey Canada. During his tenure, Canada has won seven Olympic gold medals, 12 world junior titles, five men’s world championships and 10 women’s world championships. [The Globe and Mail]
  • The Edmonton Oilers hosted a Celebration of First Nations Hockey last week as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada event. The club honored Fred Sasakamoose, the first Canadian of First Nations descent to play in the NHL, as well as other residential school hockey players and their descendants. The Oilers also announced that 20 spots at their annual hockey school will be held specifically for First Nations across Alberta. [Edmonton Oilers]
  • An interesting take on how junior players are being labelled as bullies by the league for their on-ice behavior. [National Post]
  • It appears that New York Islanders owner Charles Wang is looking to sell the majority of his stake in the franchise. [Lighthouse Hockey]
  • The two minor league players who staged a fight, that ended with a hug and a beer, have been suspended by the Federal Hockey League. [National Post]
  • Calgary Flames President Brian Burke continues to speak out against homophobia in hockey. [CBC]
  • A look into unregulated, “outlaw”, leagues, which are becoming a popular option for youth hockey players. [CBC]
  • Fifethirtyeight looked at the popularity of NHL teams based on Google searches. No surprise that the Habs and Leafs are at the top, while Nashville, Florida and Columbus are at the bottom. [FiveThirtyEight]
  • A very insightful piece on the importance of methods in hockey analytics.  [The Copper and Blue]
  • In case you missed it, the University of Alberta hosted a public lecture on hockey analytics. [University of Alberta]
  • And in honor of David Letterman, who is set to retire next year, a compilation of the top hockey moments on the Late Show. [Shnarped]

Weekly Links: NHL in Las Vegas, Former OHL Player Speaks Out, Hockey in the Himalayas, and more

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

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!

  • Las Vegas joins Seattle and Quebec City has potential expansion cities. Although this would balance out the divisional alignment, Adam Proteau argues hockey in the NHL would be a risky venture. [The Hockey News]
  • Former OHL player Gregg Sutch, and former  teammate of Terry Trafford, provides some insight into the challenges faced by junior players. Sutch urges players to expand their personal interests outside of hockey and to seek help when needed.

Players, if there’s one thing I want you to all take away from this it’s to change the way you view yourself, and for the way everyone else views you. Don’t let hockey define you, let hockey be the game you love to play. Let hockey be your enjoyment and your getaway. [Buzzing the Net]

  • The Hockey in the Himalayas Project recently delivered hockey equipment to a youth group in India interested in playing the game. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Avi Goldberg looks at what the new Hockey Night in Canada might look like starting next season as Roger’s Communications takes control of it. George Stroumboulopoulos, who will take over Ron Maclean’s role as host, commented that he’ll be more of a fan than a journalist, which Goldberg suggests might alter how the show is produced and perceived. [The Barnstormer]
  • The San Jose Sharks signed a 17-year old to a one day contract. Sam Tageson, who lives with a serious heart condition, had the opportunity to practice with the club and take part in the pre-game skate. [National Post]

  • As the NCAA hockey season comes to a close, more and more players will be signing professional contracts with NHL clubs. Andy Johnson provides some insight into how the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement impacts college players and their eligibility for NHL deals. [Bucky's 5th Quarter]
  • The CIS University Cup is underway in Saskatoon. You can catch all the games online at the CIS website.
  • Craig Custance writes about the continued growth of hockey analytics and how teams are evolving to capture useful information. [ESPN]
  • Sean Mcindoe provides an excellent overview of on-ice percentages, one of the key areas within hockey analytics. [Grantland]
  • Friendly reminder that the University of Alberta is hosting a public lecture on hockey analytics on Wednesday March 26th at noon (MDT). This session will be available on Livestream. [University of Alberta - Communications & Technology]

Free Public Lecture on Hockey Analytics at the University of Alberta

hemsky-ales-101117Happy to announce that I’ll be speaking at a public lecture on hockey analytics later this month. It will take place at the University of Alberta, hosted by the Communications & Technology Graduate Program.

I’ll be sharing some of the research I did as a graduate student at the U of A. My main focus was online hockey fans and their usage of blogs to develop information and knowledge. Michael Parkatti, one of the top hockey analytics guys around, will be providing an overview of hockey analytics and the work he has done on his blog.

More details about the event can be found at the U of A website.

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

       Speakers: Sunil Agnihotri, MA (University of Alberta) and Michael Parkatti, MSc (London School of Economics)

       Wednesday March 26th, 2014

       12:00 – 1:00pm (MDT)

       2-958 Enterprise Square (10230 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta)

       This presentation will also be available on Livestream

If you have any questions about the event, leave a comment or email me at sunilagni@shaw.ca.


Weekly Links: Slow adoption of hockey analytics, University of Ottawa hockey team suspended, Olympian Shannon Szabados practices with the Oilers


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!

  • Hockey was featured this past week at the 2014 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, with a panel that included Brian Burke and Eric Tulsky of Broad Street Hockey. Unfortunately, due to the traditionalist mentality of NHL executives such as Burke, there continues to be resistance against the adoption of hockey analytics. [Boston Globe]
  • The University of Ottawa has suspended its hockey program for the duration of the year as police investigate a sexual assault involving the team. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • A hockey fan provides an excellent summary of their experience watching a KHL game in Slovakia. [Pension Plan Puppets]
  • Effective next season, parents of minor hockey players in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association will be required to take an online awareness course aimed at reducing bullying, abuse and harassment as part of the registration process. [Windsor Star]
  • An excellent interview of Cpl. Dominic Larocque, the captain of Canada’s national sledge hockey team. [Canada.com]
  • Shannon Szabados, goaltender of the Canadian women’s national  team that won gold in Sochi, was invited to practice with the Edmonton Oilers. [National Post]
  • Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto has expanded their research on the brain health  of retired hockey players to include former University players as well. [CTV News]
  • A 180 year old hockey stick is up for auction this week. Researches have been able to determine the approximate age and the original owner of the hockey stick. [Yahoo!]

Weekly Links: NHL expansion to Seattle; Continuation of women’s hockey in the Olympics; Sportsnet and CHL extend broadcast agreement


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!

Congratulations to the Canadian Women’s hockey team on winning the gold medal in Sochi!

  • John Barr reports on the rumours of NHL expansion to Seattle. [Sonics Rising]
  • A great comprehensive post arguing for the continuation of women’s hockey on the Olympics program, a topic that was also addressed last week in this blog’s Olympics Roundtable. [Japer's Rink]
  • On the topic of women’s hockey, Finland’s star Olympic goalie Noora Räty is retiring from women’s hockey at the age of 24, citing the lack of competitive leagues in which to play. What does Räty’s decision say about the state of women’s hockey? [The Pink Puck]
  • Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis put on a remarkable performance against the Canadians in the quarter finals. James Mirtle provides some details about the netminder and his difficult path to professional hockey. [Globe and Mail]
  • TJ Oshie gained significant attention for his shootout performance against the Russians early in the tournament. Sam Laird looks into how it all played out on social media. [Mashable]

Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Olympics Set to Begin; Pilot project to draw more families into hockey; Impact of weaker Canadian dollar on Canadian NHL teams; and more

Source: Canada.com

Source: Canada.com

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!

  • With the 2014 Olympics starting this week in Sochi, Sean Mcindoe provides a preview of the women’s hockey tournament including which players to watch. [Grantland]
  • Women’s hockey at the Olympic Games have been largely dominated by Canada and the US since its inception. Even though it was potentially dropped from the Games, women’s hockey continues to have strong financial support. [Huffington Post]
  • The folks over at Habs Eyes on the Prize have put together some excellent previews on all the hockey teams competing for gold in Sochi. Definitely worth reading. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
  • Adam Proteau argues that, regardless of the result, Canadian hockey fans should remain humble about their team and limit the negativity towards other nations. [The Hockey News]
  • An interesting article that considers why Finland has produced, for its population size, such a large number of elite goaltenders. [New York Times]
  • Bauer and Hockey Canada are continuing to work on pilot projects to attract new families to the game. Their initial projects have increased the number of new players enrolling into local hockey programs. [Newswire]
  • In a recent study, the Retail Council of Canada found baby clothes and sports equipment costs have been reduced because of the elimination of tariffs by the federal government. [National Post]
  • Michael Grange examines the impact that a sinking Canadian dollar is having on Canadian NHL teams, and the league as a whole. [Sportsnet]
  • The organization Sports Without War launched a hoax Toronto Maple Leafs webpage to counter the organization’s relationship with and marketing of the Canadian Forces. The move drew widespread attention and sparked discussion around the relationship between sports and the military. In this interview, the activists explain their motivations. [VICE]
  • The merits of the plus/minus stat continue to be debated in the hockey world. Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin serves as the case study. [SB Nation]
  • A remarkable story about a college goaltender who was born with one hand. [SB Nation]
  • An infographic on the attendance levels across the NHL [via Reddit].
  • A look into how losing franchises impact the psyche of their loyal fans. Case study: the Edmonton Oilers. [Edmonton Journal]

Weekly Links: Nichushkin adjusts to North American culture; Flames to provide more Punjabi content; Safety concerns at Sochi

Source: Hockey's Future

Source: Hockey’s Future

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!

  • Dave Lozo provides some insight into the cultural adjustments Valeri Nichushkin has made since staring his NHL career. The Russian rookie has had a rocky rookie season in Dallas but appears to be settling in nicely as his club chases a playoff spot. [Bleacher Report]
  • Katie Baker travels to Russia to explore Ilya Kovalchuk’s new career with SKA St. Petersburg and the broader politics of the Kontinental Hockey League. [Grantland]
  • Nick Cotsonika explains that a number of NHL players heading to Sochi for the upcoming Olympics are expressing concern about security at the Games, and as such many of them will not be accompanied by their families. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Ken Campbell argues that youth hockey players spend too much time practicing and playing, thus risking injury or missing other developmental opportunities. [The Hockey News]
  • The Calgary Flames announced that they will be providing more coverage in Punjabi. Harnarayan Singh, who currently provides Punjabi commentary for CBC broadcasts, will be producing weekly features to discuss the Flames. [Calgary Sun]
  • Former Edmonton Oilers head coach Ralph Kreuger has accepted a position with Southhampton football club in England. Kreuger is also currently working on the Team Canada coaching staff. [Inside Sports]
  • Carson Shields, a former junior player and now coach in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League is raising awareness to the issue of hazing. Hockey Canada continues to work with coaches and parents to prevent hazing incidents. [CBC News]
  • A Canadian freelance reporter has been arrested in the United States over allegations she threatened to kill her boyfriend, who plays in the WHL. [The Globe and Mail]
  • The men’s hockey program at the University of British Columbia is facing cancellation and has been asked by school administrators to provide a five year plan to receive support from the University. [Vancouver Sun]
  • In response to criticism from fans for their eighth straight losing season, Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz released a letter to fans explaining his long term vision for the team and his support of the current management. The message was largely criticized for providing misleading information and lacking any real action plan. [The Copper and Blue]
  • Hockey Day in Canada ended with a line brawl between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks and resulted in both head coached receiving punishment from the NHL. Coach Bob Hartley was fined $25,000 for selecting enforcers to start the game, while coach John Tortorella was suspended for 15 days for trying to start an altercation in the Flames dressing room  during the first intermission. [Huffington Post]
  • Joe Pelletier provides an excellent summary of Team Canada’s performance at the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo. [Greatest Hockey Legends]

TSN’s ReOrientation Series

reorientation_649x100_57894TSN put together an excellent three-part series looking into sexual orientation in professional sports. Hosted by Aaron Ward, a 14-year veteran in professional hockey, the series interviews players to shed light on gay athletes and how professional sports are evolving.

From TSN:

In this special TSN report, Ward talks to other athletes, both gay and straight, about that culture, the need for change and how to make it happen. Included is a close look at Canada’s national sport and its apex – the National Hockey League – with intriguing comments from league commissioner Gary Bettman and players such as Dustin Brown, a tough-as-they-come Stanley Cup champion and team captain as well as former NFLer Esera Tuaolo.

Part 1 – The Culture of Casual Homophobia

Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Rogers secures NHL broadcasting rights; Former NHL players file lawsuit against the NHL; Referee abuse; Varlamov officially charged; and more


Source: CBC Sports

Source: CBC Sports

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!

  • Rogers Communications signed a 12 year, $5.2 billion agreement with the NHL for the league’s broadcasting and multimedia rights. Hockey Night in Canada will still be available, but CBC will lose significant control over the content that airs. [National Post]
  • Jonathan Willis examines what the new deal between Rogers and the NHL means for Don Cherry. [Cult of Hockey]
  • More details about the agreement and what it means for Sportsnet and TSN can be found here: [A Rouge Point]
  • Sean Fitz-Gerald looks into what the new broadcast deal means for league expansion into Quebec City. [National Post]
  • What does the new NHL TV deal mean for the viewers? Robert Macleod looks into how the deal will impact cable costs in different Canadian markets. [Globe and Mail]
  • Ten former NHL players filed a lawsuit against the NHL, claiming the league did not do enough to protect players from concussions. Included in the ten are Rick Vaive and Gary Leeman. There are reports that 200 more former NHL players have also joined the lawsuit. [Globe and Mail]
  • Sean McIndoe provides an excellent summary of the concussion lawsuit against the NHL. [Grantland]
  • TSN legal correspondent Eric Macramalla provides some in-depth analysis of the case, including what sort of evidence the players will need to provide. [TSN]
  • Former NHL player Brian Sutherby, who continues to live with post-concussion syndrome, gives some insight into his experience with head injuries and the lawsuit filed against the NHL. [OilersNation]
  • A 14-year old boy from Quebec is suing Hockey Canada and other minor leagues for a concussion he sustained in a pee-wee hockey game in 2010. [CBC]
  • Greg Wyshynski reports that the abuse of officials (referees and linesmen) in minor hockey, often cases in which parents or coaches are berating teenagers, is driving young people away from the job. It remains to be seen whether leagues will take steps to protect their young officials and retain their participation in this role. [Puck Daddy]
  • Colorado Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov has been charged with third-degree assault by the Denver District Attorney. Varlamov was arrested in October after his girlfriend filed a complaint with the police. [SB Nation]
  • Eric T. responds to some of the criticism hockey analytics has received from around the NHL. Included are some useful links to better understand the role of data analytics in hockey. [Broadstreet Hockey]
  • An interesting interview by Dave Cunning with Jonathan Cheechoo, a former NHL superstar with the San Jose Sharks who is now playing for Medvescak Zagreb in the KHL. [Backhand Shelf]
  • New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr continues to set NHL records at the age of 41. Here’s hoping he musters up a few more years. [Mayor’s Manor]

Fan Involvement in a Sports Team’s Decision Making

 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 and retaining fans, who have evolved as a result of video games and fantasy league sports.

The authors suggest fans be given the chance to vote on managerial decisions pertaining to their hockey team. The study provides an analysis of the fan-management models employed by the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer and Ebbsfleet United soccer club to draw out the pros and cons of fan managed teams as well as the lessons learned that could be used by other teams. The study emphasizes the importance of allowing fans to participate this way and points to how fans have evolved because of the technology available to them.

The implementation of our model is a step to engage big league sport consumers in a way that will strengthen the team-fan bond, help fill the seats, and generate more revenue in an era where maintaining attendance numbers has proven to be a challenge. (Hyatt et al, p. 201).

Having an opinion on the managerial decisions of a sports team is an important, engaging part of being a fan. There never is a dull moment for fans, as the nature of professional sports is extremely volatile. As teams win and lose, as players succeed and struggle, as management makes decisions, there is constant discussion about the game. Providing fans the opportunity to have an input on how team’s are managed would be great, but unfortunately there are a few flaws in the model suggested by the authors of this study. Read more of this post