Friday, 8 August 2014

Hockey Abstract 2014 - Out Now!

One project I've been working on this summer is contributing to a new edition of Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract. I've known Rob for a very long time, since early on in the internet hockey analytics days when I was publishing research on He wrote and published the first edition of the Abstract last year. This year, he recruited me and another long-time chum of ours, Tom Awad (of GVT fame) to contribute to it. We're very excited to be able to work on a project like this together after all these years, and I think we've put together a very solid product.

Hockey Abstract 2014 is primarily devoted to the analysis of current players and teams, of course. However, my main contribution to the book is a thorough discussion of the players in the Hall of Fame. The Inductinator was a tool I developed at Hockey Prospectus, designed to predict future Hall-of-Fame inductees based on data from the modern (post-expansion) players who were already in the Hall. It was an attempt to discover implicit Hall-of-Fame standards; it is meant to predict who will be honoured, not necessarily who should be. Anyone with a score of 100 or more on the Inductinator is expected to be a Hall-of-Famer, with higher scores having shorter waiting times than lower scores.

For the Abstract, I first refined my model based on recent Hall of Fame inductions, but being me I wasn't happy just discussing the present and future, I wanted to go back in time as well. So I extended the Inductinator all the way back to 1930, when the NHL adopted essentially modern offside rules. Although I was initially skeptical that I would be able to do so, ultimately I was actually able to develop implicit standards for all players back to 1930 such that every player who is in the Hall of Fame scores at least 100, while every player who is not scores at most 99. So the Inductinator actually performs two functions: not only are we able to predict future Hall-of-Famers with it, but we can shed some light on past Hall-of-Famers as well, to see what the selection committee has apparently considered to be important in selecting players.

Although in the Abstract I only take the analysis back to 1930, I have also extended the Inductinator back to the beginning of the first hockey league in Canada, in 1886. I have not been able to achieve a 100% success rate at isolating Hall-of-Famers from the other players before 1930, however there are only a few exceptions. Next week I will be posting some discussion of early Hall-of-Famers so you can see what I mean.

In the meantime, please have a look at the 2014 edition of Hockey Abstract. I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's available in both print and PDF formats.

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