Hockey Nerd

Hockey Nerd: The Math Further Explained

November 21, 2016

We receive emails weekly asking some variation of the questions, "why is my team ranked number x?" The answer is always the same, because that's where your team's performance on the ice puts them. MYHockey computes an "Average Performance Rating" for all 19k teams in our database. That rating is based 100% on the recorded game scores in MYHockey when we ran our last weekly update. Your rating is the sum of two basic numbers, your strength of schedule (SCHED) and your your average goal differential (AGD) in each of those games. It is that simple. When someone thinks their team is ranked incorrectly, it's always one of two issues. First, it's because the individual doesn't think their on ice game performances properly reflect the ability of their team. And that may be true, but MYHockey only measures on-ice game performance so we cannot help you if you think that objective view of your team doesn't properly reflect their ability. Second, it's because of error(s) in the team's list of recorded game scores. In this Hockey Nerd column, we will take a look at a team's rating/ranking from the perspective of the Math Page and how to identify possible errors.

Let us be clear about where you can find the math page. The math page is accessed by clicking on the team details icon ()in the details column to the far right of every ranked/listed team. Once you click this and reach the team information page, you will see a table of game scores at the bottom of the page. Starting with the 2013-14 season, there are three tabs at the top of the scores box. The default/first tab is the simple listing of all the game scores. The second tab is the "Rating Math" tab, or what MYHockey refers to as the "Math Page". The third tab is the Last 10 Math page which shows you a modified version of the math page specific to a team's last ten games.

Who you play is essentially your strength of schedule. Mathematically, this is the average rating of each of your opponents. Assuming that your team has not had any games updated or deleted since the last weekly update, the SCHED is clearly displayed on the math page and is the bottom cell under "Opp Rating". This number should match your team's SCHED as found on the rankings page. If the number seems lower than it should be, I'd strongly encourage you to review all of your opponents and their ratings. It is possible that your game has been input against a weaker team from the club you played. For example, you may have played a club's "AA" team, but the game is entered against their "A" level team. Identifying the wrong opponent will not only make your team's rating incorrect, it might impact your entire league/division.

How well you do against your opponent is translated into your team's average goal differential or AGD. Using a maximum goal differential of +/- seven (7) for any single game, AGD is simply the average goal differential of all of your games. This column is found just to the left of the SCHED or Opp Rating column on the Math page and should once again match the number found in the rankings unless your team has had one or more game scores correction/removed since the last weekly update.

Your team's rating for any single game can be (and is) computed on the Math page. The Points column tells you how rating points your team earned for a given game and the +/- column tells you how much better or worse than your rating that performance was. In theory, all the +/- numbers average out to 0.00, but with rounding there can be a small residual number in this column at the bottom. You are encouraged to look through your games, especially at games were your team performed +/- 2.00 or more. These may have simply been good or bad performances, but it is also possible that these are games where your opponent has been incorrectly identified.

Let's say that you remember attending a game your team played and thought it one or your team's better games, but you have a large (more than 2.00) negative number in the +/- column. As I indicated previously, this is a candidate for an erroneously identified opponent. If, by looking at the game, you know that the opponent is properly identified, not further research is needed, but if you are not sure, here is my suggestion. Click on the opponent's name. This will bring you to the opponent's team information page. Once there, see if there is a team website listed. If so, I encourage you to go to the team website and see if you can find any evidence of the game score or schedule being posted on the team website. Some team websites contain none of this information, but you are simply looking for anything that either positively confirms this is the correct opponent or pretty clearly indicates that the team played someone else at the same time or was in a completely different city on that day. If there is no team website listed and the team is part of a larger association as identified by MYHockey, then you will see the association name which is a link to the association information page. Click the link taking you to this page. Now see if you see additional teams at the age level you played. Virtually all associations have a website in MYHockey were you can then go and check out to see if you can find any additional information from the club website. Assuming you can't find any team schedules, there is one more trick we employ to try to ascertain the exact identity of an opponent. If you have access to the scoresheet from the game, you will have access to the opponent's head coaches name. Most association websites list their team coaches. You can try to use this information to match your exact opponent.

MYHockey has been doing the above research for more than a decade. Sometimes it is easy to find and confirm and opponent and sometimes we spend 30 minutes chasing a lot of dead ends. It's not always easy for a variety of reasons, but we encourage you to start with the above steps if you truly believe your team's rating/ranking is wrong. The Math page can be your jumping off point to researching potential issues and we encourage you to use it as such.

One last note on the subject. Your MYHockey rating/rankings is not typically a reflection of your team's best games this season. It is a mathematically computed average performance rating for all of your games. This includes both your best and worst performances of the season. For almost 99% of you, you will find opponents that you beat ranked higher than you and teams that you lost to ranked below you. Those things happen to virtually every team. Remember that your team rating/ranking is an average and will not reflect only your best performances.

We hope this helps those of you who are looking for some additional details. More Hockey Nerd columns will follow.

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