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08-01-2012, 09:44 PM
Hammer Time
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Originally Posted by Jevo View Post
The book Scorecasting, which is a very interesting read, concludes that the biggest part of home-advantage is ref-bias, because the refs subconsciously are less likely to make a judgement call against the home team because they don't want to feel the wrath of the home crowd. This was consistent between several sports, I remember them analyzing soccer, baseball, basketball and hockey in the book. There are of course also other factors, especially in hockey where there are rules that favour the home team, and the fact that you usually play many games in many cities in a short amount of time during a road trip.
A very interesting fact that they pointed out in the book, is that in situations where it's all up to the players and the refs have no influence, like free throws in basketball and penalty shots in hockey. The players perform equally well at home and away, indicating that players don't perform differently, but there are other factors like the ones mentioned above that drives home-advantage.
The ref influence is eliminated, but so is the coaching influence. Since hockey has a structural advantage given to the home team in terms of matchups, it makes sense that home-ice advantage would present itself in regular play when both teams are lining up for a faceoff, but not on penalty shots. That isn't exactly evidence of refereeing bias.

Refereeing bias most likely does exist, but I don't think it explains all of the home-ice advantage effect.

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