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: 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: Participation numbers in the US; New methods to reduce injuries; Tobacco use in hockey; Andrew Ference awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy; 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!

Source: LA Times

Source: LA Times

 

Congratulations to the LA Kings! Stanley Cup Champions!

  • As Hockey Night in Canada moves from CBC to Rogers, who will take control of the production, viewers can expect some major changes including more focus on players and less discussion on current events. [Eh Game]
  • A look into the San Jose Sharks’ television deal with Comcast and how it may force the club to relocate. [Inside Bay Area]
  • The story of Andew McKim, who suffered a severe concussion 14 years ago while playing overseas and continues to feel its effects. [National Post]
  • A hockey rink in Massachusetts is testing out a warning track around the perimeter to reduce the number of injuries along the boards. [CBS Boston]

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Weekly Links: Cost of hockey for parents; Potential NHL rule changes; Curbing fighting in junior hockey; Bettman’s comments about the season; Director of hockey analytics hired; and more

Source: Scouting the Refs

Source: Scouting the Refs

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 recent study found that the cost of hockey is roughly $1,600 per year, the most expensive compared to other activities. [CBC News]
  • USA Hockey’s board of director’s have approved rules to curtail fighting at the junior level. Also of note, the playing membership in the US is at an all time high. [United States of Hockey]
  • A look into the potential rule changes recommended by the NHL’s competition committee. Included are fines for embellishing,  an option for coaches to challenge calls and expanding video review. [Scouting the Refs]
  • The Canadian Women’s Hockey League is looking to add a second US franchise, with New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Detroit submitting bids. [ESPNW]
  • Team Canada goalie and Olympian, Charline Labonte recently spoke about being gay and experiencing the Sochi games with her partner, and Olympic speed skater Anastasia Buscis.  [Outsports]
  • A look into the some of the challenges NHL ice girls, or cheerleaders, deal with on a regular basis. [Mother Jones]

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Weekly Links: KHL Arena burnt and robbed; Culture of late hits; Origins of Hockey; Inter league partnerships; and more

Source: Edmonton Oil Kings

Source: Edmonton Oil Kings

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!

  • Congrats to the Edmonton Oil Kings! 2014 Memorial Cup champions! [Cult of Hockey]
  • Pro-Russian militants burned and robbed the Druzhba Arena in the Ukraine, the home rink of HC Donbass of the KHL. [SB Nation]
  • James Mirtle looks at the issue of late hits, which have lead to a number of head injuries this season. [Globe & Mail]
  • A new book entitled “On the Origins of Hockey” brings forth the argument that hockey actually originated in England. [National Post]
  • A new partnership has been struck between KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg and the Swedish Hockey League’s HC Skellefteå to exchange ideas and experiences. It will be interesting to see what other partnerships between leagues can be struck. [SKA]

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Weekly Links: Hockey growth in the US and abroad; Belarus regime continues to face protests; Racism in hockey; NHL to introduce new tracking technology; and more

 

Source: Edmonton Oil Kings

Source: Edmonton Oil Kings

 

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 Edmonton Oil Kings on winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup! [Cult of Hockey]
  • An international group of artists published a public letter, urging players at the World Championships in Belarus to support the protest movement against dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who they argue is using the tournament to legitimize his regime. [The Guardian]
  • Harrison Mooney looks at the way black NHL players like PK Subban and Evander Kane are treated by the NHL, the media and the fan community. [Puck Daddy]
  • Over the past five years, participation in ice hockey in the US has grown 5.1%. [FiveThirtyEight]

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Importance of Hockey Analytics II

Source: Zimbio

Source: Zimbio

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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Weekly Links: Impact of Olympic hockey on economy; Controversial comments from LA Times columnist, Lokomotiv crash investigation; Update on Kingsbridge Ice Center

Source: KHL

Source: KHL

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!

  • Congrats to Mike Keenan on being the first Canadian coach to win the KHL Gagarin Cup! [Globe and Mail]
  • Stats Canada found that the Canadian arts and entertainment sector took a significant hit because of the NHL’s two week layoff for the Olympics. [Wall Street Journal Blog]
  • Following Donald Stirling’s racist comments and subsequent ban from the NBA, LA Times columnist Sandy Banks suggested Stirling look into owning an NHL team to avoid black athletes. Not the best advice. [Color of Hockey]
  • New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore, who lost his wife to cancer in 2012, was nominated for the Masterton Award for his dedication to hockey. E:60 also completed a short documentary. [My Life is Hockey]

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