Ice hockey teams in four olympic games: analysis of age and anthropometric characteristics

Dr. Hab., Professor A.V. Samsonova1
Dr. Hab., Professor L.V. Mikhno1
I.A. Chichelov2
1Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, St. Petersburg
2HC "Lesgaft University", St. Petersburg

Keywords: elite ice hockey players, physical development, anthropometric characteristics, body length, body mass, age, Olympic Games, game positions.

Background. Modern ice hockey is highly demanding to the technical mastery, individual tactics, fast thinking capacities and physical qualities – largely determined by the anthropometric characteristics (body weight and length) and age. Due to currently readily accessible personality statistics of the leading ice hockey players, the age and anthropometric characteristics may be easily found and analyzed to find the recent trends in the sport discipline.

Traditionally the ice hockey teams are grouped into defense, offense and goal-keepers. We have analyzed anthropometric characteristics of the ice hockey competitors in the Olympic Games in Turin (2006), Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014) and PyeongChang (2018) [2, 3] and found the anthropometric differences of the offense and defense groups being leveled down in the modern teams, with the team leaders evolving into universal players equally strong in offense and defense.

Objective of the study was to make an age-specific anthropometric characteristics analysis of the ice hockey competitors in the Olympic Games in Turin (2006), Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014) and PyeongChang (2018).

Methods and struture of the study. We sampled for the analysis the age and anthropometric characteristics of six ice hockey teams (n=580) that competed in the last four Olympic Games in Turin (2006), Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014) and PyeongChang (2018) to compute the arithmetic mean (M); mean errors (m); maximums ( ); minimums ( ; and variation ranges ( ); and check the statistical hypotheses on significant differences between the data arrays versus the normality law (NL) using the Student t-criterion, Mann-Whitney criteria, and the X-square hypothesis; with the study data processed by the Statgraphics Centurion toolkit.

Results and discussion. Age data analysis rated the age of offense, defense and goalkeepers at 29.3±0.2,

29.2±0.3 and 29.2±0.4 years on average respectively and varied within the wide range of 18 to 43 years: see Table 1.

Table 1. Age-specific anthropometric characteristics of the Olympic Games 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 competitors

Data

Game position

n

 

 

 

 

Age, years

Offense

324

29,3±0,2

18

43

25

Defense

184

29,2±0,3

18

40

22

Goal keeper

72

29,2±0,4

22

41

19

Body length, cm

Offense

324

184,4±0,2

170

203

33

Defense

184

186,2±0,3

173

206

33

Goal keeper

72

185,5±0,5

177

201

24

Body mass, kg

Offense

324

89,8±0,3

71

112

41

Defense

184

92,3±0,5

77

117

40

Goal keeper

72

87,5±0,7

69

110

41

Note: n is the sample;  is the arithmetic mean with its error;  is the maximum;  is the minimum; and  is the variation range

Body length data analysis found the offense, defense and goal keepers being 184.4±0.2, 186.2±0.3 and 185.5±0.5cm tall on average respectively, with the offense-defense intergroup difference being significant (p<0.05) and the other differences insignificant; and with the body length data found to widely vary within the ranges of 170-203cm (R=33cm), 173-206cm (R=33cm) and 177-201cm (R=24cm), respectively: see Table 1.

Body mass data analysis found the offense, defense and goal keepers being 89.8±0.3, 92.3±0.5 and 87.5±0.7kg heavy on average respectively, with the intergroup differences being significant (p<0.01); and with the body mass data found to widely vary within the ranges of 71-112kg (R=41kg), 77-117kg (R=40kg) and 69-110kg (R=41kg), respectively. The wide variation ranges gives the grounds to assume that the offense and defense groups may be further classified into at least two subgroups – and the assumption was confirmed by the statistical data analysis.

Offense subgroups were identified as follows. Despite the fact that the subsample (n=324) was 184.4±0.2cm tall on average, only 49 individuals were close to this figure. The body length data distribution analysis versus the normality law showed the distribution falling in conflict with the latter, with the distribution in the offense subsample found bimodal i.e. having two peaks (see Figure 1) indicative of the following two subgroups. Subgroup 1 was composed of the 170-184cm (n=171) tall athletes dominated by the 181-183cm (n=62) ones; and Subgroup 2 of the 185-203cm (n=153) tall athletes dominated by the 187-189cm (n=47) tall ones. Furthermore, Subgroup 1 was found dominated by the offense-only players with the top technical skills and highest attacking creativity, whose body length and mass (180.4±0.2cm, 86.2±0.4kg on average) tested generally lower than the group average. Subgroup 2 was found composed mostly of the offense-and-defense players actively contributing to the defense efforts and having the body length and mass (188.8±0.2cm, 93.9±0.4kg) higher than the group average: see Table 2.

Table 2. Classified age-specific anthropometric characteristics of the Olympic Games 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 competitors

Data

Game positions

n

 

 

 

 

Age, years

 

Offense-only players

171

29,3±0,3

19

43

24

offense-and-defense players

153

29,2±0,3

18

42

24

Offense-centered defense

100

29,5±0,4

19

40

21

Defense-only players

84

28,9±0,4

18

39

21

Goal keepers

72

29,2±0,4

22

41

19

Body length, cm

 

Offense-only players

171

180,4±0,2

170

184

14

offense-and-defense players

153

188,8±0,2

185

203

18

Offense-centered defenders

100

182,4±0,2

173

186

13

Defense-only players

84

190,7±0,3

187

206

19

Goal keepers

72

185,5±0,5

177

201

24

Body mass, kg

Age, years

Offense-only players

171

86,2±0,4

71

98

27

offense-and-defense players

153

93,9±0,4

81

112

31

Offense-centered defenders

100

88,9±0,5

77

106

29

Defense-only players

84

96,5±0,7

83

117

34

Goal keepers

72

87,5±0,7

69

110

41

Defense subgroups were identified as follows. Despite the fact that the subsample (n=184) was 186.2±0.3cm tall on average, only 9 individuals were found 185.5-186.5cm tall; with the body length data distribution found to come in conflict with the normality law and having two peaks corresponding to the following two subgroups. Subgroup 1 included the 173-186cm (n=100) tall athletes dominated (n=24) by the 182-183cm ones. And Subgroup 2 included the 187-206cm (n=84) tall athletes dominated by the 187-188cm (n=28) and 190-194cm (n=24) tall ones. We assumed Subgroup 1 being composed of the offense-centered defenders with the excellent speed and coordination qualities; with their anthropometric characteristics (182.4±0.2cm and 88.9±0.5kg) under the group average; and with their tactics actively contributing to the offense. Subgroup 2 was composed of the tallest and heaviest (190.7±0.3cm; 96.5±0.7kg) individuals with defense-only game positions.

The study generated the following statistical data:

  • Goal keepers, offense and defense in the Olympic sample were aged 29.2±0.4, 29.3±0.2 and 29.2±0.3 years on average, respectively, with the variation range of 18 to 43 years.
  • Body length of the goal keepers, offense and defense were estimated at 185.5±0.5, 184.4±0.2 and 186.2±0.3cm on average, respectively, with the variation ranges of 177–201, 170–203 and 173–206cm, respectively.
  • Body masses of the goal keepers, offense and defense were estimated at 87.5±0.7, 89.8±0.3 and 92.3±0.5kg on average, respectively, with game-position-group differences found significant (p<0.01).
  • The body mass and length data distributions were found different from the normal ones.
  • The offence group was classified into the offense-only and offense-and-defense player subgroups different in the body mass and length averages and their positions in the teamwork. Qualified with the offense-only player group in the national team were Nikita Gusev, Pavel Datsuk and Kirill Kaprizov; and with the offense-and-defense player group – Sergey Andronov, Sergey Kalinin and Ivan Telegin.
  • The defense group was classified into the offense-centered defense and defense-only player subgroups different in the body mass and length average and their positions in the teamwork. Qualified with the offense-centered defense group in the national team were Andrey Zubarev, Bogdan Kiselevich and Alex Marchenko; and with the defense-only player group –Vyacheslav Voynov, Nikita Nesterov and Yegor Yakovlev.

Conclusion The study findings may be interpreted as supportive of the latest trend in the professional ice hockey, with the strongest players’ anthropometric characteristics noted to decrease and the field specialization tending to narrow. Knowing this trend, the selections to the beginner ice hockey groups shall no more give a high priority to the prospects’ anthropometric characteristics to make an emphasis on the fast thinking and reactivity as required by the growing speeds of the modern game.

References

  1. Mikhno L.V. (2006), “Features of a line-up of highly skilled hockey players (winter Olympic Games of 2006)”, Uchenye zapiski universiteta imeni P.F. Lesgafta, no. 20, pp. 31-37.
  2. Samsonova A.V., Mikhno L.V. (2013) “Indicators of age and physical development of highly skilled ice hockey players” Uchenye zapiski universiteta imeni P.F. Lesgafta, no. 102, pp. 152-157.
  3. Samsonova A.V., Mikhno L.V. (2013) “Indicators of age and physical development of highly skilled ice hockey players” Uchenye zapiski universiteta imeni P.F. Lesgafta, no. 102, pp. 152-157.

Corresponding author: hockey@peterlink.ru

Abstract

The study was designed to make an age-specific anthropometric characteristics (body length and body mass) analysis of the six ice hockey teams (n=580) that competed in the last four Olympic Games in Turin (2006), Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014) and PyeongChang (2018). It was found that the offense and defense pools may be provisionally classified by their anthropometric characteristics into the attack-only and offense-and-defense specialized offense subgroups; and the defense-only and defense-and-offense defense subgroups.

The study findings may be interpreted as supportive of the latest trend in the professional ice hockey, with the strongest players’ anthropometric characteristics noted to decrease and the field specialization tending to narrow. Knowing this trend, the selections to the beginner ice hockey groups shall no more give a high priority to the prospects’ anthropometric characteristics and rather make an emphasis on the fast thinking and reactivity as required by the growing speeds of the modern game. It may be beneficial to complement the traditional game positions by the following four ones: offense-only, offense-and-defense, defense-only and defense-and-offense.