SBJ/May 8-14, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Drive for stats ties into NHL digital feature

The new microsite lets fans pick the winner in matchups of Stanley Cup-winning teams.
As part of its centennial celebration, the NHL has rolled out two new interactive platforms around the Stanley Cup Playoffs aiming to give fans an even deeper look at the league’s history.

The NHL is asking fans to help select the greatest teams in its history, using an interactive program it launched as the playoffs began. Sponsored by SAP in the U.S. and Honda in Canada, the interactive microsite features all of the league’s 96 Stanley Cup winners along with team and player information, as well as images it sourced in conjunction with the Hockey Hall of Fame. The site allows fans to select the winners of hypothetical matchups between the teams, which will be narrowed down until the greatest team is announced during Game 4 of the final.

The league has seen the feature, designed with a mobile-first approach, get solid traction since its launch. The microsite has had more than 3 million page views thus far, with more than 75 percent of that traffic coming via mobile and spending more than five minutes on the site even without any video content, said Chris Foster, director of digital business development at the NHL.

As the list narrows, the league will roll out a content and video plan to highlight each team with video vignettes and stories from its editorial team on the players and teams that won the Cup. The NHL will also showcase those moments and players on-air around the Stanley Cup Final. While the league will remove the voting option once a winner is selected, it will leave the site up as a database of all the Cup winners, and will add the 2017 winner once the playoffs conclude.

The statistics being shared for this effort stem from the league’s mission to digitize all its game records dating to that inaugural 1917 season. Overseen by NHL statistician and information officer Benny Ercolani, the process involves taking all of the league’s game sheets, box scores, stats and game logs previously not available elsewhere, and providing that information via the league’s website alongside SAP’s data technology.

While the league continues to work on digitizing the full 100-year regular-season history, it has completed the entire Stanley Cup playoff library, which includes more than 3,500 games. This allows fans to not only compare the performance of players like Bobby Orr or Gordie Howe to P.K. Subban or Sidney Crosby, but also to see individual game logs and box scores to games dating to 1917, which have never been shared before.

While certain statistics have not been tracked through the history of the league, such as power play goals or individual shots on goal, the NHL provided as much information as each game sheet contained. It also recreated old team logos, and filled out player profiles of the 7,590 players who featured in playoff games during that period.

While the league is hoping that fans dig deeper into those pool of stats, it is also planning to use the information to further bolster its own content plans, as well as features such as the Greatest NHL Teams platform.

“This is a rich, untapped vein of information and data that we not only think will be a primary way to tell richer and deeper hockey stories, but also be great resources for our fans to dig deeper into the history of the league,” said Steve McArdle, NHL executive vice president of strategic planning and chief administrative officer.


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