York researchers will provide study results in time for June NHL draft

For the past four years, Woburn, Mass.-based haptic technology developer SensAble Technologies Inc. and the School of Kinesiology & Health Science at York University’s Faculty of Health have employed touch-sensitive technology to help measure, and hopefully predict, the physical characteristics that comprise hockey’s elusive skill, wrote Boston-based Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology Oct.3.

In each of the past four NHL drafts, York University has tested the top 100 prospects as part of the league’s scouting combine using a hockey stick connected to SensAble’s haptic technology to test what York Professor Lauren Sergio calls “the finesse game,” which includes hand-eye coordination and how a player is able to handle the puck smoothly while experiencing interference from other sticks and players. In anticipation of next June’s draft, the group, which also includes the NHL’s Central Scouting department, is preparing to correlate the four years of data with success (or lack thereof) in the NHL — to see if the results can provide a tangible foundation on which to base future predictions.

The York University project is not the first time haptics has been used in sports. But the NHL project is the first application used with professional sports draft prospects. Other leagues, including Major League Baseball, have expressed interest, according to Sergio.

Learning centre opens at Yorkgate Mall

A learning and outreach centre benefiting York University and its neighbouring communities opened Sept. 24 at Yorkgate Mall, wrote the North York Mirror Oct. 2. The York University-TD Community Engagement Centre at Jane Street and Finch Avenue will offer programs including tax-preparation clinics, small business consulting, initiatives to help mature female students return to school, counselling, tutoring and mentoring.

The centre will house educational initiatives, such as community based learning, which provides students with hands-on experience through volunteer service in the community relevant to their choice of study. It will also support research collaborations between community organizations and faculty members with the goal of building strong neighbourhoods. TD Bank Financial Group allocated $1 million to help bring the centre to fruition.

"The centre is a great opportunity for York University and its neighbouring communities to share information in a way that will benefit everyone," Mamdouh Shoukri, president & vice-chancellor of York University, said in a statement. "It will give community members access to the knowledge and services they need and an opportunity to share their experiences with students and faculty who want to enhance research and learning in a meaningful way." People attending the centre for a specific program can take advantage of other services on-site, such as legal advice or university entrance information.

David Suzuki cites York study

Next week marks International Walk to School week, an initiative to encourage parents and children to park the car and walk to school, wrote environmentalist David Suzuki in The Vancouver Sun Oct. 3. A study out of York University in 2001 suggested that 75 per cent of children interviewed said they would prefer to walk or cycle to school. Kids rejoice! Parents, in this case, give your children what they want.

Talks break off in Viva strike

The two sides in the Viva bus strike in York Region are telling commuters to prepare for a long work stoppage, wrote CBC News online Oct. 3. For Richmond Hill student Farshad Darvish, the strike has meant long commutes. "It’s so hard getting to school," he said. "They should be getting back to work…I go to [York’s Keele campus] and it takes me two hours to get to school. It’s kind of ridiculous."

  • Keith Marnoch, York’s associate director, media relations, spoke about the impact of the strike on York on CBC Television (Toronto) Oct. 2.

On air

  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the impact of the US credit crisis on Canada, on Toronto’s CFRB Radio Oct. 1. Moshe Milevsky, Schulich finance professor, also spoke about the crisis and its impact on investors, on CBC Television Oct. 2.
  • David Noble, social science professor in York’s’ Faculty of Arts, spoke about his decision to schedule a seminar at York on a Jewish holiday, on CFRB Radio Oct. 2. 
  • The a capella quartet Cadence, which features York alumni Aaron Jensen (BFA ’06), Ross Lynde (BFA ’00) and Carl Berger (BFA ’99), along with Kurt Sampson, spoke about how they formed the group at York University, on CBC Television Oct. 2.
  • Martha Hall Findlay (LLB ’87) took part in a panel discussion on issues in the federal election, on TVO’s “The Agenda” Oct. 2.