Can the Home-Ice Advantage be Measured Statistically?
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11-05-2012, 11:05 AM
Join Date: May 2005
A few years ago I did some research into whether or not the host nation in an international tournament has an advantage over the other teams. The one obvious problem I ran into was that these tournaments are short and held periodically and that the sample size of games to analyze is small. In the end I decided to use the World Championships for my analysis because there were more games to analyze than from the Olympics or World Juniors. I'm not a fan of the WC but I figure for this purpose the data would be just as good.
Here are some factors that I figure are unique to International tournaments as opposed to league play.
-the host nation is not as far as the rules go the "home" team any more than any other team
-most of the games in the tournament are neutral, i.e. neither team is the host team
-travel for any team is not really a factor once the tournament starts
-the size of the ice surface, rules and style of officiating may be a factor, for example a tournament held on NHL sized ice with NHL rules may give a North American team an advantage, same is true for Europeans when using "international rules", etc
-in the World Championships where many players decline invites to play the host nation probably has less players decline invites in the years where they are hosting
-familiarity with the specific characteristics of the arena are less of a factor since often even the players of the host team do not regularly play in the arenas used for the tournament
-usually even the host team are not from the city hosting the tournament and thus are staying in hotels like everyone else
In my analysis I looked at the performance of each team that hosted a World Championship in the year they hosted and the year directly before and after. The results were surprising. The teams on average actually placed higher in the years before and after hosting than they did the year they hosted the tournament. This suggests to me that hosting an international tournament actually gives the host team a slight disadvantage. Maybe this partially explains why the host nation hasn't won a World Championship since 1986??
The only explaination I can think of is that maybe the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd actually works against the home team??
Last edited by Mr Kanadensisk: 11-05-2012 at
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