Aggression as a Potential Mediator of the Home Advantage in Professional Ice Hockey

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Waterloo
  • 2 University of Illinois
  • 3 University of Waterloo
  • 4 University of Western Ontario
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Little research has been conducted on the role of various behaviors in contributing to the home advantage in sport competitions. The present study investigated whether player aggression mediated the relationship between game location and performance in professional ice hockey. Based on the subject-defined delineation between aggressive and nonaggressive ice hockey penalties established by Widmeyer and Birch, 13 measures were used on data collected from the official game reports and penalty records of the National Hockey League for the 1987–1988 season. Both macroanalytic and microanalytic research strategies and analyses were employed. Initial analysis revealed that home teams won 58.3% of the decided games. Further analyses showed a significant interaction between game location and performance. Home teams incurred more aggressive penalties in games they won whereas visiting teams incurred more aggressive penalties in games they lost. Implications for the potential role of aggression in contributing to the home advantage are discussed.

E. J. McGuire and W. N. Widmeyer are with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3G1. K.S. Coumeya is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801. A.V. Carron is with the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada, N6A 3K7.