Two of the perennially top-ranked college hockey teams in the country are Harvard and Yale. While tending to be alike in their national rankings, they differ greatly in their playing style. Harvard consistently opts for fast but small players while Yale fields slower but brawnier skaters. This difference in playing styles has persisted over the past several decades despite coaching changes and turnover in player personnel. What accounts for the difference? Explain in terms of economic analysis.
No winner this week. According to Browning and Zupan (1999; p187), the difference is due to the size of the hockey rinks. "Not all hockey rinks are the same size. Harvard's rink is large and this serves to increase the marginal product of speedy versus brawny players--there is more room to play a fast-paced version of hockey. By contrast, Yale's rink is smaller and thereby favors brawn over speed. Since there is less room to run, it becomes easier for large players to hunt down smaller opposition and beat it to a pulp." Indeed, Harvard even keeps their rink much cooler than Yale's so that the ice is faster to skate on, thereby benefiting their players.