On July 8th and 9th, the Sports Analytics Club at SFU hosted the first Vancouver Sports Analytics Hackathon and Symposium with help from SFU’s Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. This event was unique in that it bridged the gap between students and the Sports Analytics Industry. Most Sports Analytics events on the West Coast were geared toward industry members and academic researchers. VanSASH aimed to give participating students the vision, ability, and opportunity to involve themselves further in statistics and sports analytics. Other awesome sponsors for the event include CANSSI, The KEY SFU, SFSS, and SFU Faculty of Science. Private datasets for the hackathon were provided by the Vancouver Whitecaps and Vancouver Canucks.

VanSASH began with a symposium on Saturday morning. Researchers came from across BC and other provinces to present their work in Sports Analytics. The presentations addressed a diverse set of subjects, encapsulating both qualitative and quantitative analysis in professional decision-making. Topics included the communication of analysis to non-technical decision makers, theoretical model building, applied statistical models, and sports gambling. VanSASH participants left the symposium with a wide variety of ideas and avenues to investigate further. They learned that Sports Analytics is a wide-ranging industry and that it is adaptable to different skill sets and ideas.

The second portion of the event was a hackathon where participants from BC, the US, and the rest of Canada were able to get their hands on real-world data. Participants were tasked with finding insights in the exclusive datasets provided by the Canucks and the Whitecaps. The datasets themselves provided unique challenges and the resulting presentations on the second day of the event were impressive. Winning teams brought home team merchandise, future game day experiences with the Whitecaps or the Canucks, and cash prizes.

SPEAKERS

Peter Chow-White-small.jpg

Dr. Peter Chow-white

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

Dr. Peter Chow-White is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University where he is Director of the Genomics and Networks Analysis Lab and Associate Director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology. He is also an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a member of the Centre for Clinical Diagnostic Genomics at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver. 

Dr. David Clarke

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY AND KINESIOLOGY
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

Dr. David Clarke's research focuses on quantitative exercise biology. The mission of his research program is to discover ways to optimize exercise training programs for health, fitness, rehabilitation, or performance goals. A central theme of his research is applying data-driven models to different data sources, including published literature, biological experiments, and wearable sensors or tracking devices.

Dr. Alexandre Leblanc

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS
UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA

Dr. Leblanc is an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at University of Manitoba. His research interests include nonparametric function estimation, semi-parametric methods in regression, inference from sparse multinomial data, asymptotics, Bayesian methods, computational statistics, decision theory, copulas, robustness, Depth related methods.

Dr. Tim Swartz

PROFESSOR
DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

Dr. Swartz is a Professor and Graduate Chair in the School of Statistics and Actuarial Science. His general interest is statistical computing. Most of his work attempts to take advantage of the power of modern computing machinery to solve real statistical problems. 

Rob Vollman

HOCKEY ABSTRACT

Rob Vollman is an author, speaker, consultant, and long-time pioneer in the field of hockey analytics. His popular innovations have helped win Stanley Cups and Gold medals, and have shaped the way that teams are built, and that the game is covered.

Josh Weissbock

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Josh Weissbock graduated from Computer Science at SFU in 2010 and with his Masters of Computer Science from the University of Ottawa in 2014. He and his colleagues at CanucksArmy.com lead the development of analytics for amateur scouting and prospect prediction within hockey. Since 2015 he has been applying his trade with the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. In his limited spare time he is using analytics to improve his own performance at Running, Rowing and Triathlons.