Carnegie Mellon University
October 04, 2019

A Numbers Guy

Alumnus Nick Citrone’s hat trick of sports, stats and CMU has propelled him to a behind-the-scenes career with one of the NHL’s top teams

By Amanda S.F. Hartle

Every slap shot. Every breakaway. Every power play. Every hit.

Every time the Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice, their scouting report and strategy are informed by numbers and predictions calculated and created in part by data analytics coordinator and CMU alumnus Nick Citrone (TPR 2016, DC 2016, 2017).

“The more data you have, the easier it is to make decisions,” Nick says. “A lot of what I do is to provide more information and more data for the decision makers.”

And every day at PPG Paints Arena is unique for Nick as he works on both the hockey and business operations for one of the NHL’s top teams.

On the hockey side, he analyzes hockey players in leagues from around the world and creates statistical reports, dashboards and new evaluative metrics for decision makers in hockey operations.

On the business side of the team, he’s used his CMU skills for some unexpected calculations including the impact of being the “official” grocery store of the Penguins, how to best distribute points in the Pens Points loyalty program and an examination of ticket prices.

When it comes to the business side of things, Nick is comfortable there as that’s where he started out at CMU.

With no clear career in mind just yet, he thought maybe he’d follow his father’s footsteps into the business world. He watched his roommates build robots and write code as engineering and computer science majors, and he waited to see where his courses would take him.

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