Sportvision tracking technology was used during the 2015 all-star weekend (via NHL.com)
The World Cup of Hockey could lay the groundwork for puck- and player-tracking technology to be part of regular season NHL action. The NHL announced the tournament will feature the tracking technologies with help from Sportvision and SAP.
The NHL is looking to take its advanced statistics offerings deeper at the World Cup of Hockey, and part of that will be implementing technology that will track player and puck movements for each of the contests during the two-week tournament.
It was announced Wednesday that the league has teamed with Sportvision on tracking technology for the World Cup, which will see tracking chips placed near the name bar of the jerseys and into the pucks, of which the NHL will have roughly 750 with a chip installed. The technology had a trial run of sorts during the 2015 all-star weekend in Columbus, but this will be the first time its used over an extended period of time.
"What's really great about using the technology in this tournament is it's two weeks, it's in one place and it really gives us an opportunity to test it before we have to decide whether or not we're going to unleash it on 1,230 regular-season games (and) if you include the outdoor games, more than 30 different venues," commissioner Gary Bettman said, via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen.
In terms of the players, the tracking technology will be able to provide acceleration and deceleration speeds, speed over time, distance travelled and positioning and spacing in all three zones. The puck tracking will help track zone time, possession time and shot speed and distance. Steve McArdle, the NHL’s executive vice president of digital media and strategic planning, said already improvements to the technology have been made since its use in Columbus.
Having the technology used during the tournament can lay the groundwork for its transition to regular season use because it’s much more data and in a scenario that’s much more akin to live play than the activities during the All-Star Game. McArdle said this can help the league figure out what the technology’s best use will be if it’s brought into regular season play.
"These are competitive, repeatable situations where we're going to take a hard look at the system, a hard look at the data that comes off of it, and really understand at a scalable level what it means to deploy this night after night after night, multiple times a day in this situation," McArdle said, via NHL.com.
The data won’t just be for the NHL to see, though. All the information will be available for use during broadcasts with the help of SAP, which has teamed with the NHL on its advanced statistics work, and will also be incorporated into data for fans to view in game stories following the contests via NHL.com.
Tracking technology wasn’t the only news to come Wednesday. McArdle also announced that coaches will also have “tablet technology” behind the bench that will deliver replays and game video in nearly realtime in order for them to make adjustments on the fly.
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