Consolidating Data to Build a Hockey Analytics Platform with Qlik


Have you ever used a smartwatch or fitness tracker to record your workout or your run? If so, you know how real-time data and metrics can help improve your performance. But did you know that professional athletes and sports teams use similar technology to train and compete at the highest level, engage audiences, and plan fan activities? Data analytics, advanced sensors, and innovative new platforms are transforming how elite athletes play, win, and entertain sports lovers.

I’m the Co-Founder and CTO of Stretch on Sense, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Stretch Gruppen. I’m a data guy with over 20 years of experience and an amateur hockey player, and a couple of years ago, I embarked upon a project that combines two of my life’s great passions: a unique product assisting elite teams with detailed players analysis. 

So Much Data, So Many Injuries

A couple of years ago, I met with Freddie Sjögren, performance director for the Malmö Redhawks. The Redhawks are a top-division team in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

Along with some of the team’s analysts, Freddie explained that they had mountains of data from different sources but couldn’t make sense of it. They lacked the tools to bring everything together and analyze the data in a shared context, so they were working in silos, and there were gaps in understanding and interpreting the data. 

Data analytics, advanced sensors, and innovative new platforms are transforming how elite athletes play, win, and entertain sports lovers.

The Redhawks organization and its players were not getting the information they needed to optimize performance and win more games. One of the biggest problems was injuries from overtraining. Athletes and their coaches push their bodies to the limit to improve conditioning, but if they push too hard, train the wrong way, or don’t get enough rest, they can seriously hurt themselves. At the time, the team had several players out due to overtraining, and there was no way to speed their return to the lineup—or effectively prevent this from happening to other players.


Hockey tends to be a conservative environment, and people have old-world ideas, like it’s satisfactory enough to do a cursory check to see if a player has “strong legs.” Freddie and I knew better, and we wanted to make data available to everyone in the organization so we could set performance goals, track players’ progress, and have discussions based on metrics, not just gut feelings. 

Improving Decisions When Off the Ice

There are 24 players on an ice hockey team, but the success of an organization depends on much more than a bunch of good skaters with fast-moving sticks. The players are supported by coaches, scouts, and a back-office team, including medical staff, strength and conditioning experts, nutritionists, and mental health consultants. This team behind the team must communicate and cooperate at lightning speed to make fast decisions, which is crucial in elite sports.

The team wanted to analyze data and monitor trends to decide what plays to use, but there was no time to do so during an actual game. Like Formula One, which is decided during pit stops and by the work of engineers and mechanics between races, hockey games are won off the ice, between periods and games. In addition to addressing the problem of overtraining injuries, we thought we could harness the team’s data to help them make better decisions faster.

Stretch on Sense is a Qlik consultancy, and we leveraged our Qlik expertise to leverage the power of Qlik Cloud to generate new insights about player and team performance. This idea became Hat-TriQ,  a platform that would allow the Redhawks to set up a game plan for the year and adjust their targets as the season progressed. 

Consolidating Data in Hat-TriQ

You can look at the big picture and strategize over a season. However, winning hockey games starts with the players who give their all and leave everything on the ice. Teams must analyze how the players practice and perform, but you must also monitor how they feel mentally, emotionally, and physically. There’s a lot of pressure on players. They travel from all over the world to join the SHL. They’re often young and away from their families, and it takes a lot of effort to maintain peak performance. That’s why Hat-TriQ starts with individual players and works up to the team level.

Building a winning team requires measuring individual players’ strengths and weaknesses, which vary throughout the year. The Redhawks used several tools to do this, but had no way to collect data from multiple sources and analyze it meaningfully. Stretch on Sense used Qlik Cloud APIs to gather information from three sources and combine it in Hat-TriQ.

Building a winning team requires consolidating data that measures individual players’ strengths and weaknesses, which vary throughout the year.

The first is Sportlogiq, a hockey-specific analytics platform that uses AI and machine learning to analyze video footage from hockey game broadcasts. It reads and interprets footage from every camera angle and generates thousands of metrics, measuring every play. Who did what? Who passed to whom? How many shots did a team take on goal? How many shots did the goalie stop? The NHL and AHL in Canada and the United States uses Spotlogiq, and so does the SHL here in Sweden.

The second source of data is Catapult Vector sensors. Players wear special vests that track their movement during practices. These devices allow the Redhawks to measure training loads and how players move and breathe. The team can monitor changes in players’ strength and range of motion to prevent overtraining injuries, lower back pain, pulled groin muscles, sprains, and more.

Finally, Hat-TriQ uses Oura Rings to track players’ sleep patterns, body temperature, and heart rate variability (HRV). These three measures allow the Redhawks to measure recovery from exertion. They can also signal stress off-ice—like relationship or family issues—and other illnesses. For example, when players registered higher temperatures and lower HRV during the pandemic, they often tested positive for COVID, even when asymptomatic. 

Generating a Holistic View of the Team and Its Players

Hat-TriQ consolidates data from any sources and offers coaches, trainers, and the Redhawks’ back office a holistic view of the team and every player. It provides data to back up every gut feeling, and team management has the context to appropriately analyze every play, track players’ health, seek out gains, and communicate discoveries with the entire organization.

The benefits have been tremendous. Since the Redhawks started using Hat-TriQ, they’ve decreased the number of overload injuries and rehabilitation time. Player health has improved, and the team is managing ice time better. Coaches know who can play six minutes a game and who can play 22. Team psychologists and counsellors use Oura ring data and mental health surveys to gauge players’ stress levels and engage in meaningful conversations about psychological and emotional concerns.

Thanks to Hat-TriQ, the Redhawks have learned to focus on the last four or five games to gauge performance because five-month-old data is no longer actionable. The Redhawks did not have a good 2022–2023 season. At the conclusion of the season, some fans called for players to be traded and coaches to be fired. But the team analyzed KPIs and realized that, despite losing many games and failing to make the playoffs, everything was trending in the right direction. They tweaked their strategy and kept the lineup and coaching staff intact, choosing to prepare for next year. Compare that game plan with a rival team. They too had a disappointing season, but they yielded to outside pressure to fire coaches and hire new players. During a best-of-seven post-game series, that team lost to the Redhawks, who stayed the course.

Rebuilding On and Off the Ice

The Redhawks continue to rebuild and make tweaks on and off the ice. The team is using data from Hat-TriQ and powered by Qlik to improve concession sales and attract new fans to the game, especially young women. They’re also leveraging the data to improve marketing activities and boost its social media following. For example, the popular head-to-head Instagram posts pitting Redhawks players against their counterparts on opposing teams drives engagement in the hours leading up to every game.

Growing up, I dreamed of playing professional hockey, but it wasn’t in the cards. I play recreationally for my enjoyment, but using Qlik as a basis for Hat-TriQ has allowed me to contribute professionally to the sport. I’m proud to help the Malmö Redhawks realize their potential as a team and an organization. I am equally excited to help advance the game and help it embrace analytics to protect player health, enhance team performance, and create a more exciting game for fans to enjoy.