Goals Against Average is a statistic in hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer (association football) and water polo that is used to put a goalie’s number of goals allowed in comparison with their total playing time.
It is intended to give a measure of how many goals the goalie allows per unit of regulation game time.
It is considered one statics among others, including win/loss ratio and save percentage that is used to measure a goalie’s capability.
Goals against average (GAA) calculates as follows:
Goals Against Average = (goals against x game length) / minutes played.
If a goalie has been in net for 637 minutes, has allowed 32 goals in that time, and regulation time for the league they play in is 60 minutes per game:
32 goals against times 60-minute game length is 1,920.
1,920 divided by 637 minutes played is 3.01
Therefore, the goalie’s Goals Against Average (GAA) is 3.01
What counts as a “Goal Against”?
In most sports, a “goal against” is a goal that occurs while the goalie is assigned the position of the goalkeeper.
If the goalie is not on the field of play at the time when the goals happen, a goal against the team does not count against the goalie’s GAA.
In hockey, if the goalie is pulled from the net for an offensive player, and they are not on the ice at the time, a goal against the team would not count against that goalie’s GAA.
In soccer (football), if a goalie were acting as an offensive player but still on the field, a goal against the team would count against the goalie’s GAA.
Specific rules of when the goalie is “active” and “not active” depend on each sport and individual league and how statistics are recorded.
What counts as a “Minute Played”?
Each minute that the goalie is an active player in a game is counted as a “minute played.”
What is “Game Length”?
Game length varies depending on sport and league.
In Hockey, and NHL (National Hockey League) and IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) both operate 60 minute regulation time games. Junior league games often run a shorter amount of time (30, 36, and 45-minute games are not uncommon).
In Soccer (Football), regulation time at the international level is 90 minutes.
Field Hockey games are typically 70 minutes.
In Lacrosse, professional level games are 60 minutes of regulation time, although junior level leagues may run 48 minute regulation time games.
Water polo at the international level is 32 minutes of regulation time; junior leagues are often 24 or 28 minutes.
- Wikipedia – Goals Against Average (GAA)
- NHL – Official NHL Rules
- IIHF – IIHF Rule Book
- FIFA – Laws of the Game
- International Hockey Federation (Field Hockey) – Rule of Hockey
- FINA – Water Polo Rules & Regulations
- TSN – Goalie Statistics
- QuantHockey – NHL Goalie All Time Leader Statistics