Ice-Hockey Video Analysis at Oulun Kärpät

By Duncan Ritchie

27-September-2021 on Users

14 minute read

Hailing from the beautiful town of Oulu on the west coast of Finland, Oulun Kärpät are the most successful Finnish ice-hockey team in recent history. Winning the Finnish hockey league, Liiga, a total of 6 times since the turn of the new millennium, their most recent victory came in the 2017/18 season, a feat they are hoping to emulate this season.


Kärpät have recently adopted Nacsport as their video analysis tool of choice and, in this article, we’ll explore their past relationship with video analysis and discover how they intend to use it at the club.

Meet Santeri Hilli…


santeri hilli of oulun karpat


Santeri Hilli is the driving force behind the video analysis revolution currently in progress at Kärpät.


A native of Oulu and coming from a long line of ice-hockey coaches, Hilli has been coaching in his own right since 2004. From there, he took up his first full-time position in 2008 as Head Goalkeeping Coach at Kärpät. A few later, he made the move to Austria and took up a coaching position with Red Bull Salzburg, starting with the Academy teams and moving up to the pro team for the 2018-19 season.


Returning to his hometown after his Austrian adventure, next season will be his 3rd with the Finnish giants. Santeri now focuses most of his time on video analysis.


As well as being a respected ice-hockey coach, Hilli holds a Masters in Education from Oulu University where he specialised in Education Technology, something that we’re sure has held him in good stead for his sojourns into the world of video analysis.


Oh! He also has a fantastic moustache! You can see him here in this Salzburg video from a few years ago (you’ll know him when you see him!).



Great facial hair, sir. Kudos!


A Video Analysis Revolution at Oulun Kärpät


Oulun Karpat ice-hockey analysis


Kärpät have recently acquired a fairly comprehensive video analysis package from Nacsport. With 1 Elite license, 4 Pro licenses and 6 Scout licenses, the coaches are ready to, as Santeri puts it, “start a whole new chapter at the club”.


Add to that 1 Tag&view license, a Coach Station license, 11 KlipDraw Animate licenses and a Sharimg S100 contract and you can see that they’re more than serious about their video analysis revolution!


According to Santeri, the majority of teams at the club will be using Nacsport in some way, from the U15s to the women’s team to, of course, the pro men’s team.


“Nacsport offered us the perfect solution at every level”, says Hilli. “We’re now able to track and analyse all our teams and players in a way we’ve never been able to before.”


In addition to their Nacsport package, the club has also set up IP Cameras for filming training sessions and matches, no matter which Nacsport product they are using. 


“Which benefits are we going to see in the future?” ponders Santeri. “I believe that our new set up is not only going to help us teach and develop the players, but also the coaches.”


Training coaches in video analysis will be an important part of the strategy at Kärpät. As resources are much more limited in European ice-hockey than they are in, say, football’s English Premier League or Spain’s La Liga. There won’t be a dedicated analysis department like we’ve seen at Liverpool FC, Leeds United or Villarreal, for example.

Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC

Instead, analysis will be the responsibility of one man...Santeri himself! 


Moving away from goalkeeping coaching, his main role will now be to prepare matches and analyse opponents, handling all the technical and video sides of things.


Obviously, it would be impossible for him to analyse every match and every training session for every team at the club, and that’s why every coach will be trained in how to use the software in order to get the absolute maximum out of the data.


“With Nacsport, we can and will rethink our way of coaching,” says Santeri.


The Great Leap Forward


Previously, at both Kärpät and Salzburg, Steva Hockey was the video analysis tool Santeri used. He also used Sportscode during his last couple of years in Austria. But he finds Nacsport to be a much more flexible system to work with.


“Previously, our software was a closed system and the number of buttons we could create and how many players we could include was fixed. Nacsport, on the other hand, allows us to create workflows which fit around our way of working.


Nacsport at Oulun Karpat


Having said that, the flexibility of Nacsport can bring the “fear of a blank canvas” as Santeri calls it. And it’s true that with Nacsport you have the ability to control every aspect of your work, from defining the parameters of the analysis to the look of the software.


However, now quickly over that initial fear, Santeri emphatically agrees that the power of Nacsport gives his team the power to rethink and recreate their whole approach.


Another tier of flexibility for the coaches at Kärpät is the fact that they can use Nacsport Tag&view, our complementary app for iOS, to tag their games. Instead of using a computer, they can use an iPad’s touch screen, a much more lightweight method of sports analysis. The collected data can then be synchronised with a desktop at a later time.


More Advantages of Nacsport


The analytical power of Nacsport and its dynamic Dashboards were an important consideration when deciding whether or not to make the switch to Nacsport.


“Dashboards allow us to get a deeper understanding of what is happening in the game,” explains Santeri. “In our eyes, the best thing about these Dashboards is that, not only do you get numeric and chart metrics, but these are linked to the actual video clips! Just one click and we see the audiovisual context behind the numbers. So, we know where we are performing well or where we’re not hitting our benchmarks on any of the Dashboards we have created.”


Oulun Karpat Nacsport dashboard


The real-time analysis options that Nacsport offers will also be a huge plus for Kärpät in the coming season, according to Hilli, and this becomes even more powerful with the inclusion of Nacsport Coach Station in their package.


“Being able to stream the Dashboard and analysis information to the bench is going to be huge for us next season. Ice-hockey is an extremely fast-moving sport and it’s impossible for coaches to see absolutely everything that happens on the ice. Streaming the Dashboard to the bench means that our coaches can check at a glance whether their gut feelings are correct or whether they might have missed something and need to make changes.”


And real-time streaming isn’t the only benefit of live analysis with Nacsport...


An Intensive Season


Ice-hockey is one of the fastest team sports in the world and, currently, Kärpät play more games per season than any football or rugby team. During the 9-month season, they can play anywhere up to 90 games, half of which are away from home.


Between training sessions, games and travelling, time is something which is in short supply for the coaches at the club. And this is where the ability to analyse in real-time with Nacsport really comes into its own.


“The tools that Nacsport offers compared to what we used to have are a huge help to us coaches,” explains Santeri. “We now have the ability to have key analysis points ready immediately post-game. In the past, this would have taken us several hours to prepare." As you can see from the following picture, this post-game analysis can even be done on the team bus!


Oulun Karpat post-game analysis using Nacsport


“Nacsport allows us to start planning and studying our next steps much quicker. Add to that the fact that we can get 5, 10, 20, even 40 games onto our dashboard at the same time...this is something which we couldn’t even dream about before!”


Sharimg is Caring


The inclusion of a Sharimg account in their package is also a massive time saver at Kärpät.


“In the past, getting analysis information to players would take me several hours post-match,” explains Santeri. “Now I can simply upload everything to the cloud and they can see the information that is important to them in an instant.”


And it’s true that Sharimg is completely integrable with Nacsport, meaning that analysis data, video and extra information, such as KlipDraw drawings, can be uploaded directly from the program itself. A true timesaver!



Good Luck This Season!


Oulun Karpat dressing room and Nacsport


Santeri’s enthusiasm is contagious and it’s obvious to anyone looking in that video analysis is going to play a huge part in the team’s strategy this season. All the coaches are on board with the revolution and we can’t wait to see the fruits of their labour.


At Nacsport, we’re proud to stand side-by-side with Oulun Kärpät and, of course, we’ll be with them on every step of their journey, advising and assisting with their analysis setups and helping them refine their systems.


For the moment, we’d like to thank Oulun Kärpät for putting their trust in us and wish them the very best of luck this season.


Also, a massive thank you to Santeri Hilli for taking the time out to speak to us! Top man!


For more information on Nacsport or to get a free trial of any of our software, contact us through our website.


Thanks for reading!

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