Name: Ryan Vinz
Position: Director of Hockey Technology
Background: Vinz grew up just east of Buffalo in Lancaster, New York. After playing goalie for the Lancaster High School varsity team, Vinz tried out for the Clarkson University men’s hockey team as a walk-on but didn’t make the squad. Instead, he worked as the team’s video coordinator and graduated in 2007 with a degree in communications. Vinz worked for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in the organization’s scouting department before transferring to his current position with HarborCenter, a hockey-themed, multi-use facility in downtown Buffalo that also includes a hotel and restaurants and was financed by Sabres owner Terrence Pegula. Vinz received national attention – and was even trending on Twitter – on Feb. 28, 2014 when, with less than hour’s notice, he suited up as the Sabres’ backup goaltender in a game against the San Jose Sharks. Starting goaltender Ryan Miller had been traded just hours earlier, and, with backup Jhonas Enroth getting the start, by league rule the Sabres were required to dress a second goaltender.
What he does: Among other duties, Vinz manages the hockey portions of the HarborCenter website. He chose the Sport Ngin platform to host the Tournaments section of the site a year ago, and he uses it to schedule games, enter rosters, track live statistics and display streaming video. He spent the summer reorganizing the Tournaments landing page after soliciting feedback on what information was most important to viewers. He also studied Google analytics to determine which links and call to action buttons to make the most prominent.
Making his mark: HarborCenter Cup tournaments are held almost every weekend in the fall and winter, and the venue is also home to the Buffalo Junior Sabres youth hockey organization, including the Junior Sabres’ Junior A (Ontario Junior Hockey League) team. Vinz estimates about 800 games are played each year on the venue’s two rinks, and he ensures that all of them have a live video stream embedded on their game page using BoxCast streaming technology. He also archives all of the games and makes them available for purchase - $5 to watch a recorded game or $10 to download the game’s video file.
Tag(s): Webmaster of the Week