Was Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky the better player? Ask SAP

National Hockey League teams are embracing analytics for a competitive edge and now fans will get a small taste, thanks to a new partnership between the NHL and German business software vendor SAP SE.

The NHL and SAP have inked a multiyear partnership that includes the use of SAP solutions in the league back office and a focus on fan engagement and loyalty with a newly redesigned statistics platform powered by the SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud service. With the new real-time data platform, fans have access to much more NHL statistics in a comprehensive and interactive user experience.

“Hockey is extremely fast-paced with very little stoppage in play, which results in many aspects of the game failing to show up in the box score,” said John Collins, NHL chief operating officer, in a statement. “In partnering with SAP and using its best-in-class SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud service, we are now able to capture data points like never before and present existing and new statistics in a visually appealing way. “The new NHL stats platform goes beyond data to offer insights that will help avid fans go deeper and help casual fans understand the game better. There are also unlimited storytelling opportunities as we provide our fans with a personalized and interactive experience.”

The new statistics experience, available at NHL.com/Stats, will be rolled-out over the next few years. The first phase is available now, and includes a new design, enhanced statistics and new visualization capabilities. Coming soon will be advanced filtering, a playoff prediction tool, team power index, and historical data back to the NHL’s first season in 1917-18.

Fans can drill down and apply a number of different reports by season, position, country and other filters.
Fans can drill down and apply a number of different reports by season, position, country and other filters.

The historical data will allow fans to compare players and teams spanning generations and answer questions usually the topic of long, drawn-put debate: is Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky the better player? Better dynasty: 1960s Canadiens or 1980s Oilers?

“Our partnership with the NHL will allow fans to gain deeper insights from the game and tell enticing stories about hockey and its players,” said Quentin Clark, chief technology officer, SAP, in a statement. “With the new NHL stats platform, we are going to deliver real-time insight at the player and team level that has never been seen before in hockey. Together with the NHL, we will continue to look for new opportunities to help innovate and improve the game, as the next generation of hockey begins.”

While the SAP Hana-powered statistics dashboard will be what fans see from the SAP/NHL partnership, on the backend the NHL is looking at other SAP solutions, including SAP Cloud for Customer, SAP InfiniteInsight and SAP BusinessObjects.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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