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ESPN: Blackhawks at the forefront of hockey analytics

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks
Stan Bowman's dedication to advanced stats and Joel Quenneville's ability to draw success out of his team: a winning combination for the Blackhawks.

ESPN The Magazine released their Analytics Issue this week, featuring a comprehensive ranking of 122 professional sports teams across the MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL on their use of analytics—assessing buy-in from executives and coaches, investment level and overall approach.

Hockey, as a whole, may be a bit behind baseball and basketball in the prevalence of analytics, but the Blackhawks certainly break the mold. They’re the only NHL organization to appear in the Overall Top 10, and the only club in the “All-In” category among hockey teams. While other clubs are certified “Believers” in the analytics movement, the Blackhawks were early adopters, hiring an analytics firm in 2009 shortly after Stan Bowman was promoted to General Manager.

It’s a winning strategy, especially combined with Head Coach Joel Quenneville’s experience behind the bench: Chicago has posted the highest SAT% among 30 teams since 2009-10, the season they broke a 49-year championship drought.

Bowman is quoted in the article as saying, "We're always trying to expand and add a new component each year that we do a little more with."

Considering the growing list of teams that have also bought into the statistical revolution, staying one step ahead of the pack could be crucial for the Blackhawks on their quest for more Stanley Cups.

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