Quirks & Quarks

Money-puck: coming to an arena near you

Data analytics in hockey is a potentially game-changing trend.
Analytics in professional hockey are de rigueur and have already had a big impact on the game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn (The Canadian Press)

In 2002, Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics took a new and daring approach to building a baseball team.

They were faced with severe budget cuts and needed to re-think traditional player evaluation methods in order to field a competitive team.

The new approach — based more on in-game statistics rather than traditional home-runs and strike-outs — became known as analytics.  

Scouting reports became less important, while technology such as data mining and machine learning entered the picture. The Oakland A's success that season inspired the book and movie Moneyball.  

Analytics in professional hockey is becoming part of the way the game is played. (Carleton Newsroom)

This past weekend, the 3rd annual Hockey Analytics Conference was held at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Dr. Shirley Mills, a professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Carleton, helped organize the event that included participants from throughout the hockey world. 

The event included representation from the NHL, a league in which most teams have now made analytics a mainstay of their organization.