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Is There Home Ice Advantage in the NHL?

It is no secret that there is a home field advantage sports. No matter what team they are on or what sport they play, they are always going to prefer and feel more comfortable playing in their home stadium as opposed to their opponents. Most playoff structures reward the team that has had the better regular season record with home-field advantage. As you would think, this seems to help the home team win their playoff match up.

It is well documented that home-field advantage exists in many sports. Hockey, however, may be one of the rare exceptions. With home-field advantage, you generally have the fans having an impact on the game. In an NFL stadium, the fans will be louder while the away team has possession of the ball in order to attempt to disrupt their communication. Likewise, they will stay quiet when the home team has the ball. This is how fans can have a direct impact on the game. Some other examples include how major league baseball stadiums are all shaped differently. This will help some teams feel more comfortable playing in their home stadium as opposed to others. Basketball is probably the sport that has their athletes closest to the fans. This means that they can generally here the fans cheering and even speaking to them individually while they are on the court.

Hockey does not have any of this. The rinks are the same and there is a barrier between them and the fans. This is the main reason cited as to why there does not seem to be a huge home ice advantage in the NHL. Aside from physically having to travel to another city to play, there is virtually no difference between the home team and the away team once the game begins.

If you look at the numbers, home ice advantage is virtually nonexistent. If you take playoff series in the NHL, the home team ends up winning a playoff series game 7 only 54% of the time. Although there seems to be a slight advantage, it is actually nonexistent if you consider that the home team is generally the better team to begin with (they had the better regular season).

All in all, there is a lot of evidence that suggests that home ice is not anything that has a noticeable impact in the final result of a hockey game and should generally not be factored into your fantasy lineup decisions.

GRFF Staff

GRFF Staff

Where the hell am I and where are my shoes.

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