Wisehockey helps to assess COVID-19 risks in youth hockey


Modern sports analytics can prove useful in unexpected ways: after the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, Wisehockey received a request from North America to calculate the exposure time of hockey players within a two meter radius of each other. This information was needed in youth hockey for assessing safety measures against coronavirus in order to allow young hockey players to practice safely.

The Wisehockey system was an excellent tool for this task. “From the very beginning Wisehockey was designed as an easily scalable and fully automated platform,” Wisehockey’s Head of Product Management Mika Hulkki explains. “This is a good example of new needs emerging during the pandemic and how technology and digitalization can become a useful tool in decision-making.”

Harnessing digitalized hockey data for a new purpose

Digitalized data from hockey games is relatively easy to harness for new purposes. “Wisehockey’s uniqueness lies in real-time tracking and the scope of our analytics, but this case demonstrates how our lightweight microarchitecture allows adding new analytics and other features into existing game recordings,” Hulkki says.

We are actually doing this all the time. For example, just this summer we are introducing dozens of new features and including them in thousands of existing games that our system has recorded.”

Automatically gathered hockey data allows making accurate calculations without human error. Developers know exactly what their algorithm is capable of.

Wisehockey is currently contributing to several research projects. Some of the results have already been adopted to the system, but there will be more publications in the future.

It’s great to see that Wisehockey is gaining attention by different users and operatives around the world,” Hulkki says. “We are also proud of doing our little part in tackling the current safety and health risk that is affecting us all.”

“3–4 minutes within 2 meters of another player”

Wisehockey data has been part of a research “showing that ‘close range exposure time’ during youth hockey games — even with full contact allowed — ranges from 3–4 minutes of a player being within 2 meters of another, and less than three seconds of immediate proximity or actual contact.” Learn more about the conclusions and what they mean for youth hockey in Boston Globe’s news article.