So last week during the Hockey Analytics panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Eric Tulsky referenced a study that Michael Schuckers and his student Lauren Brozowski did on referees in the NHL. While this work has been available publicly on the conference website, due to some unknown oversight we did not post it here. So here it is. The paper is based upon two NHL seasons worth of data. The data don’t let us know who among the referees made the call just who was on the ice for the call. Most of the results are pretty obvious. The later you are in a tight game, the less likely it is that a penalty is called. Home teams are less likely to be called for penalties than visitors. There also seems to be a great deal of consistency among the referees in their rates of penalties after adjusting for a variety of factors including score, period, the teams involved, etc.
Photo by Mark Canter, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dmitry_Kulikov_Panthers_Shane_Heyer.jpg