The NHL will gather its best players in Columbus at the end of the month for the annual (well, nearly annual) All-Star Game, and when the players hit the ice, they will be helping the league break in some new technology.
That’s because the league will be using a system called “Sportvision” to track player movement, according to reports by Sportsnet and The Sporting News. Using chips in the players’ jerseys, as well as chips inside the pucks used in the game, the league will be able to clock how fast players skate and how hard they shoot.
Other sports leagues are already implementing this kind of tracking technology. The NFL used chips placed on players’ shoulder pads during games in the 2014 season. The NBA added new technology to all of its arenas in conjunction with STATS Inc. MLB installed the technology at three stadiums to track everything from bat speed to pitch trajectory to how fast (and what angle) fielders approach fly balls.
In hockey, the technology, which the league hopes to implement in actual game play next season, could ultimately be used for all sorts of things. What is the best way for a player to hit the blue line at top speed? What is the optimal speed for a shot to be struck in order to maximize the chance of a deflection in front of the net? Did a puck cross the goal line underneath a goalie’s gear? All of these questions could be answered using this technology, and it will be fascinating to see how the league uses it.