From a desert, from the driest continent, from this land at the opposite end of the globe ...

... as remote as could be in the hockey world ...

... came one of the world’s oldest winter sports trophies.

A cool tradition, a dream of champions, and a story we owe it to our children to tell.

Legends of Australian Ice.

SYB = Sydney Bears
MEL = Melbourne Ice
ADE = Adelaide Adrenaline
GCB = Gold Coast Blue Tongues
NEW = Newcastle North Stars
PTH = Perth Thunder
SID = Sydney Ice Dogs
CNK = Canberra Knights
MUS = Melbourne Mustangs
* = Mighty Roos (asterisk)
RK = Rank by ES/GP
POS = Position on the ice
GP = Number of Games Played
G = Goals scored
A = Assists scored
PTS = Points scored (G + A)
PIM = Penalties In Minutes
PP = Power Play Goals
PPA = Power Play Assists
SH = Short-handed Goals
SHA = Short-handed Assists
GW = Game Winning Goals
PTS/GP = Points per Game
ES PTS = Even Strength Points (PTS less PP, PPA, SH, SHA)
ES/GP = Even Strength Points (ES PTS) / Game

2011 AIHL Scoring. Data source: Pointstreak ( IHA website)


(And Fall in Love with Hockey)  I | Jun 2012

Did you know that a player on a below-average team could have below-average stats simply because of the linemates he plays with on a regular basis? Or that an average player on a hypothetical line with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux would probably have stats that are very high, yet they would not necessarily be a good measure of his contribution to his team?

Well, it's true and you certainly can't rely on those old Box Score statistics you see around the web to sort it out, because they don't describe much of what happens on the ice at all. They don't directly measure the valuable skill of screening the goalie on offense, for example. Nor maintaining good positioning on defense.

And what about the difference in the amounts of time players get on the ice? Some don't get anywhere near the same level of opportunity as others to contribute to scoring. Still others, such as defensemen, are at a positional disadvantage. We would need a rough idea of a player's ice time to estimate player contribution in any meaningful way, but that is still not officially recorded here. The NHL record it. It's not hard to do. We have analyzed player performance here in this way for over 8 years. Unofficially.

We can tell you from long experience that goals and assists are often credited to the wrong player in local hockey, and even at national and international levels. Accuracy improves the higher you go. Some official goaltending stats we've seen have been completely erroneous.

Similarly, the closeness between scoring leaders in some leagues makes a mockery of presenting a single award when two or more players finish within a few points of each other. The stats are just not that accurate, and they can too easily be manipulated. We can't change that, but we can teach you how to properly understand some of the basics. Especially the stats you need to monitor your own development.

If you are new to this, following the stats for a player and a team in an elite league is a good way to start. With that in mind, we have made a dynamic table of last season's AIHL scoring stats for those who like to ponder. This is no ordinary scoring leader board though, because to start it ranks players by even-strength points per game.

What's that? We factor out short-handed and power play scores to compare players on as level surface as possible. Similarly, we calculate the scoring rate PER GAME so we can validly compare skaters who played more or less games than others. Last year's league average was 0.41 even strength points per game (shown pink in the table). It turns out only the Top 60 or so scorers were above the AIHL even strength average. That's about the top third.

This idea of comparing players to league average is crucial. The AIHL league average score last year was 4 goals 6 assists. But what does 5 goals, 10 assists mean in your league? How did you do compared to YOUR league average? Unfortunately, you will never know unless you work it out yourself. Stats are not presented that way in Australia at present, although the info is there.

Yet, it is stats like these that help us to position ourselves in the hockey world. For example, with a little analysis we discover there is less systematic play in the AIHL compared to the NHL. An average of 1.5 assists are awarded here for every goal, and about 1.7 in the NHL. It's improving. We learn that AIHL forwards score on average about 63% of all goals and 68% of all assists, with the rest scored by defensemen.

This is an important difference in the emerging Australian game, as we've mentioned before. NHL forwards score much more than NHL defensemen  85% of all goals, and 75% of all assists. AIHL defensemen produce well over twice the proportion of all goals scored by their NHL counterparts  a big offensive bias in defense, thirty-two percent of all goals, which you can explore in the table. It's never been over twenty percent in the NHL. Never.

Table rows are green for import players, grey for locals. Abbreviated column headings are defined below, sorted on the last column to start. Click on a different column to re-sort by that criterion. For example, click "PTS" (twice for a descending sort) and you will see that the player ranked number 1 is the same, but all those below are quite different. In fact, this is the way they are usually presented, with PP and SH goals included, and it's also the way the Top Point Scorer award is determined here.

So you see, a great deal depends upon whether or not you factor the extra opportunity available to some players, but not others. Keep this in mind when you study stats. Especially your own.

Enter the 3-letter code for a team in the Search box to view its roster. An asterisk [*] in the Team column denotes a 2013 Mighty Roos player. You can also search like this for individual players or any other value contained in the table. For example, entering an asterisk [*] will return only Mighty Roos. Note that we did not include 30 skaters who played 5 or less games; nor goalies.

Did you notice that six of the Top 15 even strength scorers are local? Things certainly are changing. And we may even reveal some more of this table's secrets.

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