Who am I?
My name is Cam Charron. I blogged about hockey from 2010 until 2014, focusing on advanced stats. In the summer of 2014 I was hired as an analyst in the Research & Development Department for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I held that position for 8 years.
What I do
In my time with the Leafs, I was mainly in charge of professional player evaluations, but was much more intrigued by the coaching and tactical side of the game. Seeing the amount of data the Leafs staff had to work with provided by external providers made it clear just how limited the information provided to the public is.
My aim with this website is to manually track games and provide a taste of what NHL teams are able to work with in 2022. By manually tracking games, I hope to highlight parts of the game that are generally underappreciated by fans, such as playmaking, forechecking, or the ability to gain bluelines with control.
Okay but… why?
I’m jealous of the quality of coverage and data that other sports have compared to hockey. I can watch a baseball game and have commentators chime in about pitch types, spin rate, and launch angle. I can listen to a basketball podcast and learn about which teams are the best at employing the pick-and-roll, or what situations–or locations on the court–a shooter will find the most success. When searching for information for my Fantasy Football team, I can find information like routes run or target shares.
There isn’t much opportunity to break a lot of new ground with data released by the National Hockey League, by comparison, which makes it difficult to have a nuanced conversation about hockey, explain why a team or player is slumping, or teach casual viewers interested in learning about hockey what it is exactly that makes a good hockey team a good hockey team. I think hockey is dying for coverage that respects the sport and its fans, and I want to help provide that.
How do you do it?
Simple, by counting things.
When I sit down to track a game, I brew a large cup of coffee, load up my tracking template on google, and record the following information:
- Changes in man-power strength
- Offensive zone entries
- Entry pass
- Other miscellaneous ways of entering the OZ
- Failed entries
- Defensive zone touches:
- Throw to open space
- Defensive zone exits:
- Exit pass
- Self-exits (retreats, missed passes, or shots that bounce out without hitting anybody)
- Shot attempts including fanned and spoiled shots
- The rough distance of the shot (net-front, mid-range, perimeter)
- The rough area the shot was taken from (centre of the ice, left wing, right wing)
- Whether the shot was set up by a teammate, and which teammate made the pass to facilitate the shot
- Whether the shot was pressured by a defensive player reaching in with his stick or body to disrupt the shooter
- Whether the shot was deflected on its way to the net (I record the original location of the shot in this case, not the deflection, unless I believe that it was an intentional pass and deflection such as a slap pass)
- Whether the shot was a rebound
That seems like it takes a lot of time!
It does. Going through a game will take me about 3 hours, without distractions. I have to rewind a lot, but doing it properly means I get a great dataset with which to analyze NHL games.
What can I expect if I subscribe?
Honest coverage of Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks games. That is my number one priority, and I never want to let my bias obfuscate my analysis. I want to use numbers to illuminate, rather than to support.
I will provide game recaps for both teams, usually the morning after the game.
Sometimes, however, life throws you curveballs. I could get sick, or get too caught up in all the other stuff I’m doing (including a social life), which requires me to publish a post the following afternoon. If this happens too much, I will have no hesitation to refund anybody’s subscription if the game recaps are frequently coming in late for any reason.
In addition, you may notice that this website is pretty barren. That is by design. I have no interest in running a website that is bogged down by cool graphics, fun animations, or the like. The only thing I care about is providing readers with hockey information they can’t get anywhere else.
What does it cost to subscribe?
It took me a while to come to a number I found appropriate, and after initially announcing a subscriber fee of $10 CAD, I ultimately reduced that.
Subscriptions are CAD$5.99/month.
One reason for the reduction is that I was unable to get single-game posts available. The reduced cost may be worthwhile if your team plays multiple games against the Canucks or Leafs in a month-long span.
The subscriber fee is intended to reflect the cost of quality content, while also properly valuing me as somebody who has worked inside hockey for nearly a decade.
What about the playoffs?
What about them? When the playoffs roll around, I will continue to offer the same pricing plans for the Canucks and Maple Leafs games.
I enjoy your work and want to further support the project
Not to worry. You may make a one-time or monthly donation here, if you feel like you get more than $5.00 worth of value from this website and want to provide me more incentive to keep this project running for as long as possible.
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