Newswise — New York University’s Aaron Brown, who has co-authored an analysis outlining optimal times for teams to pull their goalies when trailing in a game, is available for comment on this aspect of hockey strategy. 

Brown, who conducted the 2018 study with Clifford Asness of AQR Capital Management, finds that NHL teams should be pulling their goalies with six minutes to go in the game when down by one goal—and even earlier when down by more than one goal. Current NHL practice is to pull goalies much later, with fewer than two minutes to go—and often with only one minute remaining.

Brown and Asness’ work suggests the discrepancy is not due to NHL coaches misunderstanding the game or the importance of analytics. Rather, it stems from the fact that coaches—and other professionals, such as investment managers, who are the authors’ primary focus—are not rewarded for winning, but, instead, for being perceived as good coaches. 

“Hockey coaches and other decision-makers are often content to lose quietly and gracefully rather than risking criticism for taking bold, unconventional moves, even when those moves would increase the chance of success,” Brown observes. 

Brown, an adjunct professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, spent more than three decades on Wall Street as a trader, portfolio manager, head of mortgage securities, and risk manager—and the last 10 as risk manager for AQR Capital Management. He published books include Red-Blooded Risk (Wiley, 2011) and The Poker Face of Wall Street (Wiley, 2006) as well as A World of Chance (Cambridge, 2008), co-authored with Reuven Brenner and Gabriel Brenner. 

Reporters interested in speaking with Brown should contact James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or james.devitt@nyu.edu.

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CITATIONS

Pulling the Goalie: Hockey and Investment Implications