Tanking in the National Hockey League

Shelley Hayden

Student thesis: Master thesis


Tanking, the incentive for a sports team to lose game(s) at the end of the regular season to secure a favorable draft position, is a researched problem in multiple major sports leagues. Attempts to diminish the incentive to tank have been implemented through draft lottery policies in leagues such as the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). NHL game outcomes from gambling market money lines and game characteristics from the 2005-2006 through 2015-2016 seasons are analyzed using a multinomial logit model. Results show that tanking is taking place in the NHL with teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention having a higher probability of a loss outcome and a lower probability of a win outcome, relative to other outcomes. International implications of the research on tanking can be applied to sports markets world-wide to maintain league integrity, fan interest, and maximize revenue potential.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Business Administration, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages35
SupervisorsBattista Severgnini