How the LA Kings Use New Goalie Metrics to Get a 360° View of Every Player

Two-time Stanley Cup champions the Los Angeles Kings have been working closely with Catapult to conquer one of the ‘great unknowns’ of ice hockey – goaltender-specific analytics.

The Kings, who compete in the NHL’s Pacific Division in the Western Conference, have played a role in Catapult’s build, test and development of the new analytics which provides a 360° view of every athlete on the ice.

-> To arrange a demo of the hockey-specific solution, click here.

Director of Strength and Performance Science, Matt Price, has worked for the Kings for more than seven years and recently spent time with Catapult’s product, data science, and customer success teams to deliver the first-ever performance tracking solution for goalies, the sport’s most unique position.

“We had generic metrics such as time on ice that helped us start the conversation around what our goalies were experiencing. But now Catapult has opened up another layer of the conversation with more specifics about goalies’ unique movements and playing patterns. It’s added a crucial level of player management for our team,” said Price.

.@CalPetersen40 is probably dizzy today from standing on his head all night last night.

Watch highlights. ?

— LA Kings (@LAKings) October 20, 2023

First-ever goalie analytics

The Hockey Goaltender Analytics solution is the first of its kind for ice hockey and gives players and coaches a 360° view of goalies, specifically tailored to their unique positional movements.

With the Hockey Goalie Analytics, coaches can use objective data to reduce the risk of injuries specific to a goalie’s position. The metrics now available to coaches and players include:

  • Down Count: The number of times a goalie shifts from feet to knees in a blocking position.
  • Goalie Load: The volume the goalie has experienced over a single session.
  • Goalie Load per Minute: The Goalie Load over a session duration, which provides a relative level of intensity for the athlete.
  • Asymmetry: The volume and intensity for both left and right directional movements on the ice.

-> To arrange a demo of the hockey-specific solution, click here.

The new Hockey Goalie Analytics solution was developed directly from the insights of the most elite hockey teams in the world, including the Los Angeles Kings, Hockey Canada, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Boston Bruins.

This period belonged to @CalPetersen40 and Cal Petersen only. #GoKingsGo

— LA Kings (@LAKings) October 20, 2023

But why goalie tracking?

Catapult has been providing wearable technology to the NHL and ice hockey teams for more than five years. This technology has provided a number of skating-specific metrics which help teams better understand and quantify the risk, readiness, and return to play of their athletes. Now, 14 of the 31 NHL teams use our solution for this purpose.

“It is sort of a unique group and we have three coaches that are directly dealing with our goalies. The position has its unique characteristics around how they move in the net, but the more salient thing is they’re the one player that plays the entire game,” said Price.

“We couldn’t delineate goalie load from time on ice because they’re playing all 60 minutes. So having more advanced quantification of work beyond just time was the great unknown.”

Previous metrics could not provide coaches with insights into the specific movements of goalies. Goalies have a unique movement profile characterised by a combination of low and high-intensity actions, with explosive movements occurring sideways and vertically and within a small area, which more commonly may be described as ‘downs’ or ‘dives’. See examples in the video below:

“Not unlike pitchers in baseball and their shoulder and elbow health programs, we got to really manage goalies hip health. The new goaltender analytics has elevated all key stakeholders to be able to intervene and make sure that we’re managing that position, getting the most out of them with as little the least amount of strain on their bodies,” explained Price.

The Hockey Goaltender Analytics solution helps coaches prepare for the season and aims to keep athletes on the ice all season long. Catapult supports coaches like Price to:

  • Reduce the risk of groin and hip injuries from overloading through the quantification and management of position-specific movement profiles.
  • Provide a 360° view of all players through an analytics package, enabling coaches to measure all hockey athletes on a single platform.
  • Develop specific feedback with goalie coaches to enable them to improve team and athlete communication.

Catapult Insight: Studies published in the Sports Journal of Sports Medicine and British Medical Journal stated: “hip and groin problems are highly prevalent in elite ice hockey goalkeepers. During a competitive season, 69% of players experienced hip and groin problems and 36% of players suffered from substantial problems.”

The financial impact of injuries within the NHL is said to be in the region of US$218m per season. With potentially preventable hip and groin overuse injuries in goalies common, there is an opportunity to mitigate the risk of injury, save time, money, and improve performance by managing load using the insights we provide.

Price said: “Goalie-specific data was the great unknown, so now with these metrics and our improved understanding, we can quantify and measure the specific load of our athletes. We’ve found a significant amount of load that we didn’t see before with respect to hip health.”

—> Click here to download this brochure to explore Catapult’s 45 Hockey-specific metrics.

“We’ve been working with Catapult for more than six years now and there has been a new evolution of interest and it is more commonplace. What we see from the Catapult data, whether it’s goalies or skaters, is that they get a really good feel for what they’re doing. It has become a really handy check and balance tool for the team,” explained Price.

Testing and Development

The Hockey Goaltender Analytics were honed from testing 17 goalies and are based on the 360° movements of 2,924 different “events” on the ice. “Catapult made the testing process simple, they were easy to work with. I’m sure, like most people, we want things yesterday. But, honestly, they did a great job and I think it’s a major advantage to have this goalie-specific information,” mentioned Price.

“I’m not aware of other technologies that can tell us what Catapult’s solutions are telling us and we’re excited to continue to move forward with the data and certainly excited for other innovations in the future.”

-> To arrange a demo of the hockey-specific solution, click here.

A New Era for Women’s Ice Hockey: The Power of Technology and Partnership

The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) and Catapult have joined forces in a pioneering agreement to equip all six teams with cutting-edge video analysis technology. This strategic move is aimed at enhancing game strategies and performance, marking a significant advancement in women’s sports technology. Explore how this collaboration is setting new standards in the development and competitiveness of women’s hockey.

Discover the impact of this partnership on women’s ice hockey.

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