The concept of hockey analytics and analytics departments has become a main talking point on social media in the last ten years. Some are totally against it, and refer to the eye test above all else. Others have found a delicate balance between watching games and using data provided by their analytics departments to make up for cloudy areas. Every team in the NHL now has an analytics department, all with varying sizes. We have seen teams that lean on their analytics departments have major success, with the likes of Tampa Bay and Colorado winning Stanley Cups recently. Other teams that have embraced analytics and look poised for future success include the Buffalo Sabes, New Jersey Devils, and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Calgary is reportedly adding to its analytics department soon
According to the below tweet from TSN’s Salim Valji, the Flames are going to be adding to their analytics department. Moreso, the hire is going to come from the MLB. Valji also provides more information about the Flames and their analytics department.
The MLB and analytics have gone hand in hand for years and the data collected in the game is unlike any other. That is where the late great Chris Snow originally began to get interested in data analysis while he was covering the Boston Red Sox. In April 2022, the Chicago Blackhawks hired Jeff Greenberg as their associate general manager, who was previously with the Chicago Cubs of the MLB. Last month, Greenberg was hired by the Detroit Tigers to be their general manager.
Earlier this summer, it was announced that the Flames had hired Hendrix Hanes as a developer and data scientist.
The Calgary Flames analytics department right now
This department was built up by the late great Chris Snow. Snow joined the Flames in 2011 and was tasked with creating and implementing data analysis systems. Snow was promoted to assistant general manager in 2020. Shortly after Craig Conroy was promoted as general manager this summer, Chris received another promotion to Vice President of Data/Analytics and Assistant General Manager. Chris held this role until his unfortunate passing at the beginning of this month. Our thoughts are with his wife Kelsie and their two children Cohen and Willa.
This is the current Flames analytics group as per the Calgary Flames website.
Hendrix Hanes – Developer & Data Scientist
As discussed above, Hanes joined the organization this summer. Hanes previously worked with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL in the position of Senior Developer & Video Coach. Hanes also has previous Data Science roles with a variety of companies, including Statistics Canada.
Michael Charron – Quantitative Analyst
Charron joined the Flames in February 2020. Before that, Charron spent 12 years working for TD Canada Trust in investment banking.
Connor Rankin – Video Analyst
Rankin has worked with the club since September 2016 (part-time from 2016 to 2020 and full-time since 2020). He is a former player for the Calgary Hitmen and Mount Royal Cougars.
And lastly, the Flames had David Johnson working with the team in an analytics capacity from August 2017 to June 2023. Johnson has moved on from the organization.
For the organization, it is awesome and inspiring to see the Flames investing in the analytics department and bringing over someone from the MLB shortly. Chris Snow was instrumental in building up the department and seeing it contribute to every facet of the Flames organization. Now, the organization sees three full-time employees and a fourth set to be joining soon. Here’s hoping they continue to add to this department and find success in their efforts.
Photo from @NHLFlames.