What makes a hockey Hall-of-Famer?

August 9, 2011
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(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

At the JSM conference last week, I stopped by a great poster by Steve Salaga and Brian Mills, graduate students at University of Michigan's Department of Sport Management. The guys were clearly hockey fans, and had channelled their enthusiasm for a sport into an interesting statistical analysis of game and player data from the NHL. One analysis, based on a random forest model implemented in the R statistical language, looked at the characteristics of players selected for the NHL Hall of Fame:

We are attempting to gauge how well each player aligns with the views of the Hall of Fame Voting Committee and whether or not they were 'snubbed' based on how the committee would be predicted to vote. 

HOF characteristicsAccording to their criteria, the key criteria for forwards and defensemen selected for the Hall of Fame are All-Star game appearances, assists, goals and (to a lesser extent) plus/minus and Stanley Cup wins. (Factors that appear not to much influence the committee's decision included shot percentage, and whether the player was French-speaking or not. Goalies were not included in the analysis.) On this basis, players that appear to have been "snubbed" by the selection committee include Kevin Lowe, Alexander Mogilny, Dave Taylor and Theoren Fleury. 

Steve and Brian will be publishing their analysis in a paper soon, but in the meantime you can see more details in their poster (PDF. 3.1Mb) or at their blog post below.

The Prince of Slides: More on JSM

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