First year of league-wide smart puck system: KHL Vice President reviews the successful season


Wisehockey’s automatic real-time hockey analytics platform was implemented in KHL league-wide last summer. Even though the 2019—2020 season was finished early due to the global pandemic, the smart puck system proved its capability in everyday use. KHL recently published a review of its first year with league-wide real-time statistics, celebrating top players of different statistics categories and envisioning smart puck technology at present and in the future. And the future looks bright!

With the new real-time statistics, KHL has been able to dig deeper into the game. For example, how long did each player control the puck? Who skated the longest distance during games? Which player’s passes were most likely to succeed?

In the recent KHL article, the Vice President of KHL Sergey Dobrokhvalov evaluates the 2019–2020 season and considers the future possibilities of smart puck data. “Even though this season was finished ahead of time, when it comes to smart puck data, we could describe the season as successful,” Dobrokhvalov says. Now all KHL teams have begun to realize the importance of smart puck data.

During the past season, the Wisehockey system started to provide data on new game details such as the direction and success of players’ passes. Diverse shot data is gathered automatically, throwing light on where players aim their shots and how they succeed. Coaches can now monitor blue line crossings, and Wisehockey’s advanced video system helps to analyze situations in real time or after the game. According to Dobrokhvalov, the next step is to gather more data from game situations such as gaining and losing the puck.

Vice President considers KHL to be an innovator in the field of making statistics in a new way. During and after the 2019–2020 season, many commercial partners of KHL have become interested in the possibilities of real-time data. There are a few reasons for that: data can be used in real time, statistics are calculated automatically without human interference, and it’s possible to receive data that would be difficult or impossible to gather manually.

Dobrokhvalov believes that sports analytics will get bigger in the future and there will be interest to use statistics for new purposes: for example, sports equipment manufacturers may be interested in learning what kind of hockey stick allows for the hardest shots or what kinds of skates help a player to reach the maximum speed. Interest in real-time data may grow in other sports as well.

Read more in KHL news (in Russian)