LHC in Numbers

Since the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, MySports has been covering more and more subjects using “Advanced Stats”: Corsi, CF%, xGF%, xGF, QoC, PDO, ZSR are some of the terms explained by Ueli Schwarz in short tutorials made available on YouTube. In North America, “Advanced Stats” are more and more frequently used in mainstream media. However, Europe and Switzerland are newcomers in this way of analyzing hockey.

By @spz19

One of the best moves during the last hockey offseason was MySports’ decision to include “Advanced stats” in their broadcasts. Teleclub never did that. This is a positive thing and interesting for Swiss hockey fans. The presented statistics add more context to the analysis than the usual stats: goals, points or plus/minus. It gives new perspectives to understand the game of hockey and the reasons behind some GMs’ or coaches’ decisions.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic and want to comprehend the calculations presented in the segments, however, you run into difficulties. The metrics usually presented in the videos are not necessarily available on the SIHF website and cannot be computed without further game details. Looking at the source of the tables showed in MySports broadcasts, tutorials or articles, these metrics are mainly coming from Andreas Hänni’s firm “49 – mining – analytics – consulting”.

Yet, with some of the information publicly available on the SIHF website and some reasonable assumptions, it’s still possible to analyze the work presented on MySports. For this article for example, I will use the statistics SIHF provides on faceoffs played in the defensive, neutral and offensive zones.

In this three-part series, I aim to reach the same numbers and conclusions as MySports with the publicly available data. In this first part, I will look at the definition of a metric treated in one of the last segments and at the analysis presented by MySports. Part 2 tomorrow will cover my “nerd” analysis of the same data and part 3 offers my conclusion.

Zone start ratio (ZSR): definition, meaning and perimeter

In one of MySports’ last tutorials, presented during the December 8th broadcast, Ueli Schwarz explained a new metric: the Zone Start Ratio (ZSR). Here’s Alexander Calloway’s definition of it:

Zone Starts, or rather Offensive Zone Start %, measures the percentage of time when a player starts in the offensive zone. A Zone Start ignores starts in the neutral zone, and begins when a player starts his shift in a zone (beginning with a faceoff). An Offensive Zone Start % is the number of offensive zone starts, divided by the total number of zone starts (both offensive and defensive).”

Here is another shorter definition and formula coming from Corsica glossary:

The percentage of non-neutral zone starts that are offensive zone starts (OZS/(OZS + DZS))”.

Both correspond to MySports’ definition: “Die Zone Start Ratio (ZSR) drückt aus, zu wie viel Prozent ein Spieler aufs Eis kommt, wenn ein Bully im gegnerischen Drittel beginnt.”

As showed in the following sketch, a player can either start his shift:


on the fly”: coming directly from the bench into play (60% of the time); 


or on a faceoff during a stoppage of play (40% of the time).

In this article, the focus will be on the latter: shifts starting with a faceoff in the offensive zone (OZ) or defensive zone (DZ) as showed in the green part of the scheme. This metric can give an indication of players’ usage by his coach and where he wants the players to begin their shift with a faceoff: in the OZ or DZ? As mentioned by Ueli Schwarz, the attention will be on 5v5 situations, as they are the most frequent ones in hockey (70 to 80% of the time).  

Faceoffs considered to compute the ZSR are logically a subset of the total number of faceoffs: faceoffs taken mid-shift or in other in-game situations (5v5, 4v4, 3v3, PP and BP) are not used in the ZSR calculation. 

Zone Start Ratio (ZSR): MySports analysis

During December 8th broadcast (available in this article or tutorial), MySports compared the following two players in the table below:

- Pius Suter (ZSC)

Tanner Richard (GSHC)

They both play at the same position (center) with comparable 5v5 time on ice per game but with different offensive production: 1.25 point per game for Suter and 0.67 point per game for Richard.

The point of the MySports analysis was to justify part of the difference in offensive production with zone start deployment (OZ vs. DZ) as given by the ZSR metric. On all shifts beginning with a faceoff (in either OZ or DZ) in 5v5 situations, Suter started 67.57% of them in the OZ as compared to Richard with 41.54% starts in the OZ. 

Find out in Part II tomorrow, how I tried to get the same results as MySports by using only the publicly available data on the SIHF website for my "nerd" analysis and what questions and issues were raised in the process.

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LHC in Numbers

Analyse du LHC et du hockey suisse en utilisant les statistiques de la Ligue ainsi que d'autres personnellement récoltées.

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