By: Pat Pickens
The N.H.L., working with the German software company SAP, unveiled a new statistics website Friday, including a section devoted solely to advanced statistics.
Terms like Corsi, Fenwick and PDO, familiar categories in the advanced-stats lexicon, are giving way to shot attempts, unblocked shot attempts, and shooting percentage plus save percentage.
The site introduced Friday was the first of several innovations planned for the next 18 months that represent sweeping changes to the scope of hockey statistics.
“This is a game-changer in terms of the digital record of everything happening on the ice,” said John Collins, the N.H.L.’s chief operating officer.
The first phase included the introduction of 45 metrics, nine of which had not previously been quantified by any advanced-stats site. The league hopes to incorporate bar graphs and comparisons by April and would like to add player tracking, using chips in the puck and in players’ jerseys, to record precise, real-time data on every player.
Sportvision, which created Fox’s glowing puck, the N.F.L.’s 1st and Ten graphics system and the Major League Baseball K Zone pitch tracker for ESPN, will produce the chips for the N.H.L. The league tested the technology during last month’s All-Star weekend, and Collins said it had received “more positive than negative” reviews from those who saw it.
The statistics will be available within 30 minutes of the end of each game, and league officials said they hoped to be able to update the data by the end of each period by the end of the regular season.
The goal is to “get as close to real-time as possible” by next season, said Chris Foster, the league’s director of digital business development.
The final phase, to be introduced during the N.H.L.’s centennial campaign in the 2016-17 season, will track statistics all the way back to the league’s founding in 1917. SAP’s developers said fans would be able to compare Sidney Crosby, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Maurice Richard.
SAP and the league surveyed fans to make the statistics site easy to use, and the N.H.L. intends to keep the data available at no charge — though it may be combined with a subscription to GameCenter Live, the league’s live-streaming service. Foster said the league and the developers had learned a lot from the fans they interviewed.
“There are several different personas that exist,” he said. “Extreme, hard-core fans that want to really dive into the stats that exist. We looked to cross the spectrum of extremes.”
Collins was asked whether the league would use its might to shut down fan-driven analytics sites that had tracked statistics for years.
“I think what we view as our mission is to provide the most authentic and consistent representation of what is happening on the ice,” he said. “How that gets interpreted, how people weight that, that’s the fun part of the discussion we hope to start to foster.”