The playing surface in hockey is unlike any other in sports and because it is so integral to the game, players and coaches believe that ice quality can impact their offensive performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of ice quality of NHL arenas on player performance by comparing statistics from games played at the best and worst rated arenas and to their season average. One forward and one defenseman from each of the twenty-one teams who do not play their home games in either the top five or bottom five ranked arenas were selected for this study. These players were among the highest scoring players on their teams and played multiple games at the arenas being studied. Each player’s average total points per game as well as Corsi for percentage per game were calculated for the season as well as at the top and bottom arenas. Those means were compared in paired-samples t-tests. There was no significant difference in points per game at the top (µ = .7069) and bottom (µ = .6759) rated rinks (n = 42, p = .771). Both means were lower than the entire season average (µ = .8183) for all forty-two players studied and the average at the bottom five rated rinks was significantly lower than the season average (n = 42, p = .007). Results showed that there was no significant difference in Corsi for per game at the top (µ = 54.0048) and bottom (µ = 54.3579) rated rinks (n = 42, p = .713). Furthermore, Corsi was significantly higher than the entire season average (52.1893) at both the bottom-rated arenas (n = 42, p = .005) and the top-rated arenas (n = 42, p = .016). These results do not support the perception that ice quality significantly affects player performance. Some possible explanations include points per game and Corsi not accurately measuring offensive performance, the overall talent of the home teams in those arenas, and the psychological effect perception can have on performance.
Dr. Sungho Cho
Dr. Amanda Paule-Koba
Martin, Joe, "Perceived Ice Quality in NHL Arenas and the Effect on Player Offensive Performance" (2019). Masters of Education in Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects. 80.