This is how Wisehockey data was used to track players possibly exposed to Covid-19


Wisehockey data was used to track players who were possibly exposed to Covid-19 in an ice hockey game.

The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat wrote on October 23 about how the Finnish Hockey League (Liiga) turned to Wisehockey data when one player from the team Kärpät tested positive for Covid-19 after a Kärpät vs. KalPa game. As a result 13 players were quarantined.

Liiga was aware that already in the spring Wisehockey calculated the average time of being in close proximity to other players for US junior teams.

The Wisehockey system tracks players 25 times per second and the puck a hundred times per second with ten-centimeter accuracy.

Liiga requested Wisehockey to track possibly exposed players of the team KalPa. Wisehockey calculated the time players spent in close proximity (1.5 m) to each member of the opposing team.

We do not know who the player infected with Covid-19 is, we made these calculations for all players in relation to every player,” said Wisehockey’s Head of Product Management Mika Hulkki.

It was because of protecting privacy. We are not supposed to know [the individual], and we do not draw any conclusions or make decisions. We only calculated exposure times.”

In ice hockey, players in close proximity to each other may be subjected to skin contact, coughing, and droplets caused by heavy breathing. Therefore it was necessary to find out which opposing team’s players had been within a 1.5 m proximity to the infected player.

Helsingin Sanomat interviewed Irma Koivula, the Chief Physician of Infectious Diseases at Kuopio University Hospital. According to her, medical experts were able to quickly access the data.

Fairly soon we learned that [the Wisehockey system] can help us, in addition to the information provided by the infected player to a local physician, of course,” Koivula said to Helsingin Sanomat.

Liiga is positive that similar data analysis will be useful in the future as well.

Liiga’s CEO Riku Kallioniemi said in the article: ”Covid-19 will stay with us for quite a long time, and we need the tools to live with it.”

Read the full Helsingin Sanomat article (only in Finnish)