The NHL remains mired in a debate over the validity and reach of advanced statistics and analytics. Most of this stems from the fact that we simply don’t know enough about the information being gathered to pair it with the proper context in order to learn what we want. This is something that baseball fans struggled with for some time before statistics became clearer. Now it appears that a key piece of technology could change all that, altering the way we view and analyze hockey going forward.
It’s called player tracking and it’s nothing new to sports. It’s actually something that’s been prevalent in the NBA for a while, but now it appears to be making the leap to hockey.
Marc Appleby is the president of PowerScout Hockey Inc, a company that purports to be able to track the action in a hockey game. Per the Dallas Morning News, this technology has some pretty far-reaching abilities.
PowerScout uses a three-camera system to track every player’s and the puck’s movement on the ice. With that data, PowerScout’s computer can deduce skating speed and distance skated, pass/shot speed and percentage, takeaways, shot attempts and a range of other analytics.
Well that would certainly be helpful. “This is kind of the holy grail,” Appleby said. “There’s nothing left to measure. This I think will fundamentally change the way that teams will look at (hockey).”
So when might we see this technology widespread in the NHL? Sooner than you might expect.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported in May that the NHL would experiment with player tracking this year and could have a league-wide system in place by 2015-16
Watch out, Corsi and Fenwick. If this technology takes off, we could have everything we need to know about a hockey game wedged right into one little report from this system. From there, it’s anyone’s guess as to how NHL GMs will take advantage of this potentially groundbreaking piece of technology.