The NHL and NHLPA held a press conference on Wednesday in Toronto’s Distillery District to discuss the plan for international growth when it comes to the game of hockey. Part of that includes the success of the upcoming international tournament being held in Ontario’s capital city and it’s because of that the league will be looking to add some technological developments to the game during the two-week tournament.
One of the technologies that the league will be testing during the World Cup of Hockey is player and puck tracking.
The specialized puck and player tracking tags that will be used at the World Cup. pic.twitter.com/D8Dc2JQP0d
— Mike Zeisberger (@Zeisberger) August 17, 2016
The tracking devices – which are being used in connection with Sportvision – will track distance travelled, spacing on the ice, speeds, defensive and offensive positioning and a player ice-time for the game, period and a single shift. It will also measure a players time spent in each zone – making the measurement of some analytics a little easier.
The chips will be located on the back of player jerseys just under the name patch in a small slot designated for the new technology. As for the pucks, the league is having over 750 pucks made specially for the World Cup with the chips inside.
Cameras above the ice surface (that’ve been installed in the arena’s rafters) will be able to track the movement of players and offer the statistical analysis the league is hoping to use in connection with the new technology.
The NHL experimented with similar devices once already at the 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus, but significant developments have been made in growing the technology.
Two other innovations the league will incorporate in their World Cup tournament include on-bench tablet technology for coaches and advertisement technology on the dashers.
The tablets will allow coaches to use replay and up-to-the-minute statistical analysis to help develop plays and discuss the game with their players. In essence, it will help coaches do their job more interactively on the bench.
The ad technology will allow producers to lay specific ads over the dashers during game play and between whistles. Ads will be more interactive – including moving images during whistle breaks and allow Rogers and ESPN (as well as European broadcasters) to use ads directed at their local audiences.
It will be interesting to see how all of these come into play with the World Cup and where the league takes it after the tournament ends on October 1.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.