Fighting and Scoring in Hockey

A report on CTV news this morning says hockey teams that fight more score more goals and allow fewer goals, on average. Here is an excerpt from their summary:

… “Major penalties actually help teams win hockey games,” said study author Aju Fenn.

Major penalties also decreased the number of goals scored by their opponents.

The study, conducted by Fenn with a team of professors at the Department of Economics and Business at Colorado College in Colorado Springs and the School of Business at the University of Sioux Falls, compared the effect of minor and major penalties.

According to the analysis, major penalties helped win games while minor penalties lowered a team’s chance of emerging victorious.

The team of professors crunched numbers based on data for all NHL teams from the 1999-2000 season through to 2003-2004.

The professors calculated that for each penalty minute served, a team collected 0.08 points and decreased their opponent’s scoring by 0.24 goals.

They attributed the positive effect of a major penalty to the emotional rush sparked by an energizing brawl…

Unfortunately the CTV summary is a bit sketchy, and I have been unable to locate a copy of this study on Professor Fenn’s website. If you have a link for this study, please post it. I have some questions that the CTV article didn’t answer:

  • In almost every fight, there are off-setting major penalties. How much variation was there?
  • What mechanism is at work that fighters are pumped up but the “fightees” are not? Is this intimidation?
  • Were the data game-by-game or season totals?

I know that some of the co-bloggers here have done work with Professor Fenn. Perhaps they can locate an on-line copy of the paper.

Photo of author

Author: John Palmer

Published on:

Published in: