The prospect of player tracking becoming a permanent feature in future NHL games moved a step closer last week as the league debuted real time player and puck tracking in two Vegas Golden Knights home games against the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks.
Shoulder pads and pucks were fitted with microchips, while antennae located in the arena followed player movements through radio frequencies, data from which was relayed to representatives from sports betting companies, teams, tech firms and media outlets in a separate suite.
The aim of this latest trial, according to a report by the Associated Press, was to refine the logistics of using the technology in meaningful games and to demonstrate how the real-time statistics can be used, among other things, in betting applications.
Commissioner Gary Bettman told AP: “Technology gives us a chance to bring our fans closer to the game, gives them a chance to look at the game from different perspectives, to actually see from a data standpoint, from a visual standpoint more of what’s going on in the game. And the opportunity is unlimited in an era where technology is developing at a record pace.”
The ‘puck and player’ tracking system is scheduled for use again at the All-Star Weekend on January 25 to 26 in San Jose when NBC in the US and Rogers in Canada will be able to use the data during their broadcasts. Should the trials work as expected, puck and player tracking will be fully introduced in time for next season.