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Defining the Style of Play in the NHL: An Application of Cluster Analysis


  • Vincent Claude B

    (Laurentian University)

  • Eastman Byron

    (Laurentian University)


The placing of NHL players into categories such as stars, average journeyman forwards, defensive forward, etc., is a popular pastime of fans and professional sports commentators. This is usually done in an ad hoc manner, sometimes contentiously, and without reference to any detailed analysis of empirical data. This paper structures the debate and provides a statistical basis for such categorization. This is achieved through an application of cluster analysis to formally allocate players to these categories. Using variables from the earnings determination literature, we are able to define the style of play of both forwards and defensemen. In addition, there appears to be a link to external outcome measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent Claude B & Eastman Byron, 2009. "Defining the Style of Play in the NHL: An Application of Cluster Analysis," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-23, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:5:y:2009:i:1:n:10

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Edward W. Hill & John F. Brennan & Harold L. Wolman, 1998. "What is a Central City in the United States? Applying a Statistical Technique for Developing Taxonomies," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(11), pages 1935-1969, November.
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    5. Michael A. Curme & Greg M. Daugherty, 2004. "Competition and Pay for National Hockey League Players Born in Québec," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 5(2), pages 186-205, May.
    6. J. Jones & S. Nadeau & W. Walsh, 1997. "The wages of sin: Employment and salary effects of violence in the national hockey league," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 25(2), pages 191-206, June.
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    8. Catherine Jackson, 2002. "Classifying Local Retail Property Markets on the Basis of Rental Growth Rates," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 39(8), pages 1417-1438, July.
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