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Ottawa Analytics Conference

posted Nov 9, 2015, 7:05 AM by Robert Vollman
Registration is open for the hockey analytics conference in Ottawa, January 16, 2016.

I attended last year’s event, and had an absolutely fantastic time. The event is organized by prominent hockey statistician Michael Schuckers, who innovated the Total Hockey Rating (THoR), and is well known for advances in rink recording bias and faceoffs. His co-host is Dr. Shirley Mills, who I had the pleasure of meeting at last year’s event. The entire conference went very smoothly, and all the organizers put in extra effort to make everybody feel welcome and comfortable.

I first met Michael at my own hockey analytics conference, the one that kicked the whole thing off – in Calgary, September 13, 2014, at the Saddledome. Technically, we held the first one in Edmonton May 24, 2014, but that was more of an organizational meeting than a wide open and well-publicized conference like the others. 

Michael had flown up to Calgary on his own budget, and was my keynote speaker. The topic was recording bias in the NHL, and everybody got a sneak peek at his (at the time) unreleased paper. Afterwards, we grabbed a drink at a nearby pub, and I got to know the personal side of one of our field’s most intelligent and passionate voices. It was both an honour and a pleasure when he invited me to speak at his first conference this past February, and he and Dr. Mills were kind enough to make the trip more affordable by organizing the sale and distribution of Hockey Abstract 2014 at the event.

There have also been events in Pittsburgh November 8, 2014, in Washington D.C. April 11, 2015, and Rochester October 10, 2015, of which I only managed to attend the one in the middle. There is also one planned in Vancouver on April 16, 2016, which I will also be attending. It is highly rewarding to see this initiative take off, and to spread itself out in several cities across both countries, especially with all the time, effort, and expense involved in organizing them. If you like these events as much as I do, and are in a position to do so, please support Michael over and above the suggested $20 donation.

As for me, I will definitely be attending (and speaking at) this year’s conference in Ottawa. The best part is meeting all of you, and the great discussions that we have, so I hope to see you the conference itself, and the social events that precede and/or follow.