April 15, 2008

The End Of HockeyDB.com?

God Bless HockeyDB.com.

Ralph Slate's Hockey Database has been a great resource since the internet's earliest days. But HockeyDB has never really evolved into a more user friendly resource. User search criteria is very limited. Those pop ups and blinking ads scream of amateurism. And I know for a fact that Slate is far more interested in expanding statistics on the lowest of the minor professional leagues as opposed to including international stats and improving goaltending records.

Enter Hockey-Reference.com

I haven't had a lot of time to really explore this new site, but early reviews are promising. The site has a great pedigree, as the site is a spin off from the folks at Baseball-Reference.com.

Here's some other neat features I like:

Far more detailed player statistics - Power play goals, short handed goals, game winners, shots, shooting percentage, time on ice, and something called goals created are all among the statistics not included at hockeydb.com

Birthplace search - You can search by country and province/state. Search by city would be nice though.

Coaching records - Handy online resource

Season by Season Leaders - I'm always looking back in old NHL Guide and Record books for this information. No longer.

Season by Season game results - No boxscores, but that's what Stu McMurray's Hockey Summary Project is for. I'm not sure what Stu would think of this idea, but it seems like a natural merger to me.

Something called the Player Season Finder - This looks like the most interesting tool, and certainly the easiest to customize. For instance, in a few seconds I was able to find all 80 players who scored 10 or more game winning goals in a season. I hadn't realized that of Jeremy Roenick's 14 goals this season, 10 were game winners! In no time I was able to find out a number of quirk stats.

HockeyDB is a legend of it's own type in online hockey circles. And Slate has invested a lifetime and a lot of money and bandwith into his excellent product. But Slate is really going to have to evolve a bit here or risk losing marketshare and therefore relevancy. The good news is Hockey-Reference.com appears to have a ways to go itself, although I suspect that speaks more to their potential than anything. It will be an interesting battle.


Unknown said...

Hi Joe --

Ralph Slate from hockeydb.com here. The demise of my site is, as they say, greatly exaggerated.

The hockey-reference site clearly offers a more broad set of NHL statistics, and you're right in stating that my interests have traded that breadth for depth at all significant levels of hockey (including European leagues, by the way). I've never viewed my site as a source for analytics, I've always seen it as a complete historical reference.

Competition is what makes life fun, so I will naturally be adding additional features to beter compete, including a search by hometown feature - but for all players and leagues, not just NHL! And as always, I'm open to reasonable suggestions, although I won't be offering an Excel file of the database anytime soon.

The Internet is a big place, and there is room for a wide range of hockey information sites out there. Eurohockey will always offer more information on European hockey since that is their niche; hockey-reference will offer more analytics because that is their niche.

However, if you want the best historical reference for all levels of hockey, the hockeydb.com is still the definitive source.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,

I hope that Ralph has enough brand recognition on his side that he can sustain his market share. I would hate to see Hockeydb disappear, the depth of minor-league stats alone always keep me coming back. We can get NHL stats anywhere. The goalie stats seem to be turning into an online specialty between a couple of researchers. I hope there is room for everyone and their specialty. The more the better!

Anonymous said...

Both are great sites, however I've grown more fond of hockey-reference for myriad reasons.. The fact that they have current scores and leaders is really great too.. I've found more typo's and inaccuracies on hockeydb, maybe because I haven't been using hockey-reference that long..

Keep up the great work guys!