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Paul Kukla Kukla's Korner

Published on Saturday, August 17, 2019

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The Chicago Blackhawks Are Big Believers In Analytics

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Al MacIsaac first heard of analytics approximately 4,500 miles away from his spacious United Center office.

Shortly before the Blackhawks’ 2009-10 season opener in Finland, MacIsaac sat down alongside Stan and Scotty Bowman to meet a stranger in Helsinki’s grand Hotel Kamp for a brief presentation....

“It started as a project that we were going to build on,” MacIsaac told the Sun-Times this week. “Now we have analytics for everything. ... It’s evolved from that first chance meeting in 2009 to something that we feel proud of and that our staff have come to embrace.”

The term ‘analytics’ itself is mentioned nowhere in MacIsaac’s job description, and it takes quite a bit of scrolling down the Hawks’ front office directory to find Andrew Contis, the lone listed member with it in his title.

But MacIsaac will disclose there’s a whole team of employees — “young people,” he calls them — who compose the Hawks’ analytics department, collecting and analyzing data and looking for new areas to explore.

“Our ideas can’t be cascading down from the senior guys like me and Stan,” MacIsaac said. “We want ideas cascading upwards, and that comes from guys like Andrew Contis and a number of others.”

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