SAS Institute supports Swedish Ice Hockey Association with advanced analytics ahead of World Cup of Hockey
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association has used SAS Institute’s Sports Analytics to help select players for Team Sweden for the World Cup of Hockey, which starts on September 17th. The analysis of over 1.4 million data points has made it easier to improve the selection of players.
In order to select team members from the 74 Swedish NHL players, SAS Institute has gathered, analyzed and evaluated data from NHL.com. The data is based on 1,230 regular season matches, and includes 1 million substitutions and 400,000 events. Things like penalties and goal attempts count as events.
The visualization of the analysis simplifies the comparison of individual players, and even shows which players stand out from the average.
“Selecting the players is a long process. It is important to base our decisions in facts in order to increase our chances for success. The analysis helps remove the emotion from the decision, and shows in black and white how the players perform on the ice, and is therefore very valuable for us as leaders,” says Rikard Grönborg, coach for the Swedish men’s national hockey team.
The statistics were used mainly strategically, which is to say to not only to describe how the players have performed in previous matches, but how to maximize the team resources over time. The goal is to be able to optimize the resources that are available and use them at the right time and in the best part of the match.
“It’s important to continuously measure, evaluate and reconsider, and to achieve the best results you have to analyze. Analysis is a process and a mindset, not a one-time experiment. In combination with the hockey experts’ experience, we can create a maximum value,” says Jon Blomqvist, data scientist at SAS Institute.
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