Diffusion of Hockey Analytics

Applying Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations 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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Weekly Links: Race and the treatment of Evander Kane; Hockey media news and insight; Quintal replaces Shanahan at NHL head office; 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!

  • Arctic Ice Hockey examines the role of race in the treatment in Winnipeg of the Jets’ Evander Kane. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
  • William Douglas gives a historical overview of Asians’ involvement in professional hockey. [Color of Hockey]
  • Sportsnet is seeking input from fans and developing a Fan Advisory Panel. Fans can provide input on programming and other broadcast concepts.  [Sportsnet]
  • Pat Maclean looks into some of the false narratives built by media and the negative ramifications of poor information. A fantastic piece. [Black Dog Hates Skunks]
  • With news the the Canadian government is slashing its budget by $130 million, the CBC has announced that it will no longer bid on professional sports, including, obviously, hockey broadcasts. [CBC]

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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]

Signal Boost: Barb Underhill, the woman who teaches the NHL how to skate

development camp-4_slide

Underhill working with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Photo from Tampa Bay Lightning.

** Cross posted on The Rabbit Hole.

The Pacific Standard recently wrote an article about NHL skating coach and consultant Barb Underhill.  I have been a hockey fan since I was six and I had never heard about this woman before.  After reading the article and watching a couple of YouTube clips I am inspired and want nothing more than for her to  add me to her list of pupils.  I don’t know how the world of sports has managed to keep Underhill such a well kept secret (perhaps its because NHL hockey remains a marginal sport in the US market?) but I think that proponents of women’s equality in sports should have her face plastered on every piece of marketing material possible!

Underhill, 51, is a former Canadian competitive pairs figure skater who skated in two Olympic Games and in 2009 was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.  After her competitive career ended she moved into television commentating but for the last eight years she has been back on the ice where she belongs teaching the best of the best how to be…even better!  While not a hockey player herself she has been surrounded by the game and really, it doesn’t matter whether or not she knows hockey because she knows skating.  As Underhill points out, figure skaters take private lessons for pretty much their entire skating careers but hockey is predominantly learned in a group setting and skating, oddly enough, skating is kind of learned incidentally.  So if you have done like I have and walked by the figure skaters practicing with your hockey bag on your shoulder shooting the toe picks a snide grin of superiority maybe next time it should be an inviting grin that will hopefully turn into a new friend and free skating coach! Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Evgeni Malkin’s journey to the NHL; The impact of HockeyFights.com; Critiquing MLSE’s military appreciation night

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!

Editor’s note: Not surprisingly, most of the hockey world is focused on the Winter Olympics currently underway in Sochi, Russia. However, there is still great hockey writing being done about non-Olympics issues. This edition of the Weekly Links is thus divided into two posts: today, we post non-Olympics links and on Sunday we will publish a Weekly Links post exclusively devoted to writing about the Olympics. We hope you enjoy both posts!

  • A really interesting article by J. Brady McCollough on Evgeni Malkin’s journey from Magnitogorsk, Russia to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  • An interesting and balanced look at HockeyFights.com, the website that catalogs and celebrates fighters in the NHL and beyond. [Grantland]
  • Is the NHL ready to announce an expansion franchise in Seattle following the Sochi Olympics? [Raw Charge]

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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: History of the USSR’s involvement in Winter Olympics; TSN documentary on sport and homophobia; Fallout from brawl between Canucks and Flames

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 pre-Olympics exhibition in Russia explores the USSR’s involvement in the Winter Olympics, including its significance to the Soviet regime and the political wrangling it entailed. One fascinating tidbit is how the Soviets shifted from playing bandy to playing ice hockey in order to be more competitive in international competition. [The Moscow News; h/t to Joe Pelletier (@HockeyLegends) for the link]
  • TSN is airing a three-part series called ReOrientation, hosted by Aaron Ward, that looks at the impact of homophobia and gay rights in sports. Adam Proteau gives a favourable review, arguing that the show is “another indication of a trip down a road we as a society aren’t turning back from.” [The Hockey News]
  • One unique public good in Toronto is its public skating/hockey rinks, which are maintained by the city and free to use for all. Marcus Gee tours 10 rinks in one day to give an insight into their environment and use by locals. [Globe and Mail]

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Weekly Links: Lots of Winter Classic reaction; USA Hockey/Bobby Ryan controversy; Rogers deal with NHL hurts poorest fans; East Indians’ increasing prominence in hockey; 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!

  • The big hockey news of the past two weeks concerned the NHL’s annual Winter Classic, which took place between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium. The game set an attendance record for hockey, with 105,491 fans attending the game. [The Province]
  • It also recorded bumper ratings for CBC and NBC. NBC had 4.4 million viewers for its broadcast, while CBC drew 3.6 million. [SB Nation; Globe and Mail]
  • Lots of writers had rave reviews of the event, which certainly did not lack in its picturesqueness. Here are links to some of the better reactions from mainstream media, by Katie Baker, Adam Proteau, and Chris Johnston respectively. [Grantland; The Hockey News; Sportsnet]
  • And here are reactions from some Red Wings bloggers… [Winging it in Motown; The Malik Report]
  • … and some Maple Leafs bloggers. [Pension Plan Puppets; Leafs Nation]

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