The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, December 18, 2020
Karell Emard with the primary assist — Dr. Courtney Szto Keynote — Must-click women's hockey links
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Emard, Sportlogiq get into the WoHo data game
Hello from the Island of Enchantment, aka Puerto Rico! The snow back home made travel iffy, so I made the “sacrifice” to stay a couple extra nights so I wouldn’t miss some important business meetings. While away for a short vacation, we got some more exciting news that should progress the collection of WoHo stats for posterity.
“As a PWHPA player, iCE gives us access to tools that improve individual aspects of our game and analyze our team’s performance. To be able to have the same type of advanced analytics and video tagging as the NHL receives is simply amazing. I am so proud to be part of a company that took a pledge to support women’s hockey right from the start.”
~Karell Emard, PWHPA player and Sportlogiq executive
Last week, I spoke (again) about the importance of data for women’s hockey. One week later, and a new partnership has blessed us one again with WoHo analytics! The PWHPA announced the partnership will “provide the league with a single platform for accessing essential metrics, video and analytics.”
The release seemed to be more focused on the analytics for players/teams and not fans, but as long as the data is collected I see no reason why it can’t be made available. Maybe to friend of the newsletter Mike Murphy, even?
As far as teams and player using analytics, Alison Lukan wrote a fantastic piece about the OSU women’s hockey program’s switch to data-driven coaching back in 2018. It’s a fabulous read about the importance of good data in WoHo and the frustration with the lack of it at the present time. Here is a excerpt:
Neither Muzerall nor Singleton is a fan of information overload, however, so the head coach has relied on Singleton’s expertise to decipher what is important, what to use to answer the questions she has about a game and what data is accurate — in stated values and relevance — to make it worthwhile.
“Taran’s work has made this accessible, 100 percent,” Muzerall said. “If I got this (system), I wouldn’t know how to use it. Taran is the mastermind behind all of it. He has fun reading all of it. I’m more like ‘tell me the points that I’m concerned about for this week,’ or ‘Taran, I’m feeling this trend, do I have support to back that up?’ Or he may come to me and say ‘hey, I noticed we’re doing a poor job in the second, or we are weak in a certain area of the ice in faceoffs.’ ”
Muzerall said with the data coming relatively quickly, it has been applicable game to game in identifying players to pressure, ideal matchups, evaluating shots versus chances (both for and against), locations on the ice to target or prevent, and period-by-period play trends.
So I’m glad to see the women’s game is trending towards more meaningful and hopefully accessible data.
If you were to request from Alison, Mike, Meghan, and others a stat to track, what would it be?
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This Week in Women’s Hockey
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Saroya Tinker joined the 3rd Intermission, Riveters’ Twitch show.
Quinnipiac shines in 2020-21 debut.
NWHL makes Sports are from Venus end-of-year bracket.
The new NWHL jerseys are FUEGO, here’s how they came to be.
New member of the “mom club” Brooke Stacey re-joins the Buffalo Beauts.
RIT Athletics mourns the passing of former women’s hockey coach Rob Scuteri.
Jayna Hefford gives PWHPA updates.
Sammy Davis takes a daily dive to honor Travis Roy.
Jenna Seibold has joined Davis in the polar plunge to honor Roy.
Emily Fluke swims upstream, joins Toronto Six.
Natalie Snodgrass earns Player of the Week.
How the Wisconsin pause will impact the 2020-21 season.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Dr. Courtney Szto Keynote
Here are some excerpts from Dr. Szto’s keynote at the MacEwan University Anti-Racism Hockey Summit. Dr. Szto is talking about her policy paper and why focusing on the economic barriers of a sport like hockey doesn’t automatically (if at all) address racism in the sport.
The game has always belonged to all of us, just not an equal measure or recognition. Because the history of hockey has been whitewash. We have been taught to believe that only certain people belong …
We freely talk about the rising cost of hockey, but issues of class do not erase issues of racism. In our policy paper we highlight the remoteness of indigenous reserves as one significant hurdle that we need to address, and this is true it poses a significant challenge. I recently attended a panel called Moving Beyond Diversity hosted by the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on the whiteness of outdoor culture. Raheem Robinson, a black rock climber … pointed out that every that every climbing gym in New York City is within three blocks of a housing project. The sport of rock climbing is as white as hockey. This fact really drove home that access is not really about class or proximity.
Just as we have Black Girl Hockey Club, the climbing community has Brown Girls Climb. The running community has Black Girls Run …. what all of these organizations point to is that racism is not just a problem for hockey, it is a problem of society and therefore exists in every sporting space, some more prevalent than others. Some more reluctant to admit this truth than others. These BIPOC only spaces amplify their own stories and heroes because mainstream culture refuses to do so. They enable us to take up as much space as they choose instead of shrinking to fit the culture.
For decades, we have upheld the NHL as a standard for what hockey is and looks like. But for hockey to grow and sustain itself … we have to under expand our understanding of hockey. We have to look at ball hockey and roller hockey as part of hockey and ways of growing the game …
We need legitimate pathways for women and girls to aspire towards. How can we call it Canada’s name if today there’s only one professional women’s team in Canada? And when that opportunity to play for the NWHL new expanded Toronto six is still requires players to have other sources of employment to make ends meet. The hockey of yesterday cannot be the hockey of tomorrow.