Upsets, epic comebacks, and players and goalies going on incredible hot streaks. Every year, the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs bring to life some of sports’ greatest theater and culminate in one triumphant team lifting up the Stanley Cup, one of the greatest trophies in all of sports.
Adding to the excitement, AWS and the NHL are introducing two new advanced statistics, powered by AWS, and debuting them in the playoffs: shot analytics and save analytics. Shot analytics calculate a player’s and team’s shot performance from different zones across the ice, while save analytics provide in-depth goalie save statistics accounting for a variety of factors.
Both of these real-time stats will be displayed on-screen in the form of graphics to transform the fan experience before, during, and after each game. By providing data and analysis, the stats will help fans—along with players, coaches, and broadcasters—better understand the game and appreciate the action and strategic decisions they’re seeing on the ice.
These new, real-time statistics are a result of AWS becoming the Official Cloud Infrastructure Provider of the NHL. After the partnership was announced in February, the two sides quickly began to work together to bring new metrics to hockey fans. The advanced stats use a range of AWS technologies and were built using more than 10 years of the NHL’s historical Hockey Information and Tracking System (HITS) data.
By analyzing real-time game action and using historical data, AWS and the NHL can produce a quick stat like the percentage of a player’s shot from a specific spot on the ice. They can also dive deeper into certain statistics, such as season vs. season results, team vs. team results, or shooting percentages against a certain goalie from various spots on the ice.
“NHL fans are extremely tech savvy. They love the speed and skill of the sport, and they crave more opportunities to understand and engage with the game and the players, and therefore, it’s important for us to use our data to deliver as many insights as possible,” said Dave Lehanski, executive vice president of business development and innovation at the NHL. “AWS is the perfect partner for the NHL, helping us to aggregate our rich historical content and deliver real-time advanced analytics that will continue to transform the fan experience.”
Shot analytics, in particular, showcase the teams and players that have the highest shot-to-goal conversion rates. They will also illustrate effectiveness within the game, and how teams and players take advantage of Power Plays or short-handed situations. Shot analytics also allow fans to dive deep into team and player performance for a single game, or across a season, giving them new insights into their favorite teams and players.
Meanwhile, save analytics calculate and visualize goaltenders’ save percentages and the volume of shots they stop from each zone on the ice to help fans better understand and appreciate what a goaltender faces in a game. The stat can display how goaltenders—who have to use their bodies, pads, and equipment to try and stop a puck that is only three inches in diameter but can be shot at speeds up to 90 miles per hour—perform against different team strength conditions, such as when they’re missing a defender during an opposing team’s Power Play, and during different game phases or events, such as a breakaway by the opponent or in a shootout. In addition, save analytics illustrate the goalies’ success in making saves, and how these results vary based on where shots originate.