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 are 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 and more 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 Whitecaps. The datasets themselves provided unique challenges and the resulting presentations on the second day of the event were quite impressive. Winning teams brought home team merchandise, future game day experiences with the Whitecaps or Canucks, and cash prizes.
The event was organized by three senior members of the Sports Analytics club. Lucas Wu recently graduated from SFU and is pursuing a Masters in Statistics at SFU. Abe Adeeb is finishing his Bachelor's degree in Statistics at SFU in the Fall and currently working at Own the Podium in Ontario on co-op for the Summer and Fall. Finally, Dani Chu is pursuing a MaCm, Statistics double major and plans to graduate in the Spring of 2018. He is currently performing research for Canada Basketball. The club is looking forward to hosting more events like this one and pursuing projects in Sports Analytics in the coming year.