Although one of the most dangerous mainstream sports in the world, ice hockey is often marginalised from the other, more popular games like baseball, football, basketball, etc., as there is a dearth of funding when it comes to ice hockey. Things have started to look brighter after endless hours of research and advancement over the course of about twenty-five years.
The National Hockey League announces that players and the rink alike will be fitted with electronic pucks and shoulder pads to track the workings of the game. This will usher in an entire host of opportunities to better understand the game and increase its popularity. You can find more insight regarding this in the following infographic by Betway Lines:
Big data will inherently transform the NHL
With this newly available analytical data, coaches, players, viewers, and sponsors, basically everyone involved with the sport will be able to assess both individual games, players’ performances, and overall engagement throughout the season. Since ice hockey is such a fast-paced sport, a digitised record of the games will revolutionise the way it is watched and played.
Some ways big data will change the NHL are:
The instantaneous transmission of data
Sports like football and baseball have had the advantage of being tracked in real-time for a long time now; it is high time that ice hockey gets a similar opportunity. Especially as such a fast-paced game where the players are skating around the rink at a pace of around twenty kilometres per hour.
The proposed digital data to be recorded will transmit information to the coaches of the teams as the game is going on. This should help them in realising which player is playing how well, which in-game strategies to adopt and how to manage time better. The use of artificial intelligence through bots will fetch out algorithms that will clearly show the patterns each player, each coach, and each team uses over seasons and therefore assist the organisations in shaping their goals better.
Assessing the physical well-being of the players
Real-time analysis of the game helps coaches keep track of each player’s condition during the game. The information will be sent in the form of data points, whose speed may reach up to two thousand data points per minute.
The coaches can then decide who is more fit to play, based on the data for who has reached their maximum physical potential, or who needs to be substituted for someone else or even who has sustained an injury. The players, too, can use the recorded information to personalise their training strategy off the rink and get in harmony with their own body and its ways.
In a game where injuries are as common as goals, it will help the players defend themselves better and reduce the number of players who can’t play because they’re injured.
Popularising the game
Even though the effort and skill required by the players of ice-hockey are in no way less than any other mainstream sport, the harsh reality of the situation is that it just isn’t as audience-oriented as other games. Therefore, the idea of creating an app where the viewers can watch the statistics of the game live has been proposed to increase audience engagement.
As the number of viewers goes up and more and more people start actively following the game, the revenue drawn into the game will increase too. This will help in procuring better equipment, improving the pay of the players, and generally, get more money into the flow of the financial activities involved with the game. The sponsors, too, will be more motivated to invest money in the game and figure out which teams to back.
Promoting the players
The information and the analysis would make it easier to gauge the potential and gaming tactics of the players, helping in identifying new and emerging talent. It will also help the players bond better with the audience as they would receive more limelight after the funds start pouring in.
Moreover, with the new data available for hundreds of players and thousands of games played every year, it will make it easier for the scouts to identify patterns in the matches. In such a fast-paced game, keeping an eye out for every player is very difficult. The information generated can be applied to implement retirements and trades too.