A couple people who started an advanced hockey statistics website now have jobs with the Minnesota Wild.
The team announced the hiring of Andrew C. Thomas and Alexandra Mandrycky Tuesday. Both co-founded War on Ice – a website that uses traditional and advanced hockey statistics, along with graphs, analysis, contracts and transactions to cover the NHL.
Thomas, an Ontario native who worked in statistics at both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Florida, will be the Wild's lead hockey researcher. Mandrycky's title is hockey operations analyst. She's from Atlanta, Georgia and was a systems and operations consultant.
Both of them are responsible for "data collection and interpretation" for the Wild, and will work with Ben Resnick, manager of hockey administration.
Last February, ESPN put out its "Great Analytics Rankings," sizing up all the teams in the United States' four major male sports leagues for how much they embrace advanced statistics.
They put the Wild in the "Believers" category (not quite the highest tier, "All-In," which only the Blackhawks are part of), saying general manager Chuck Fletcher is an "analytics believers," that's "helped the Wild evolve into a much better puck-possession team, both through roster management and systematic on-ice changes."
Overall, the use of new numbers to judge athletes in pro sports has been on the rise since 2003, when former Oakland Athletics general manager Bill Beane began gaining attention for his "moneyball" strategy," Forbes says.
"Today, every major professional sports team either has an analytics department or an analytics expert on staff," the story reads.
There's even an annual conference dedicated to sports stats: The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, where NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will be appearing this year.