Biometrics: The Statistical Revolution the NHL Isn’t Talking About
The Edmonton Oilers utilize CoachMePlus, a sports science platform that “helps teams organize all of their data, evaluate game day readiness, and reduce the possibility for injury,” says CEO Teo Balbach. The company started working with the Buffalo Sabres in 2003, but have expanded to “about a quarter of all professional teams in North America, in all sports.” In hockey, there are currently nine teams that work with the software.
Essentially, it’s a host system for any kind of information an organization wants stored on a player. “There are tracking devices for players that produce very compelling data,” Balbach explained. “No matter how compelling that data is, there’s always other information about the athlete. You need to take the device data and merge it with other information. That can be complex data from another device… or simple data, like weight, body fat percent, or even the coach’s notes.”
“This is a platform. Every team uses it differently. Some teams have complex configurations, while other teams have simple configurations,” Balbach continued. “Most teams try to measure internal load, external load, hydration and nutrition.”
Biomedical statistics provide benefits to players and coaches at the micro-level, especially when it comes to managing the day-to-day performance of skaters. Drummond, who has worked with five different head coaches in his time with the Oilers, says each coach likes to use the CoachMePlus system differently.
“Every year, it’s kind of re-establishing relationships and getting [the new coach] on board with the sports science piece,” said Drummond. “I think, as the younger coaches come into the league, everything changes a little bit.”