NHL tests Sportvision tracking program during Skills Competition

Andrew Weber / USA Today

Saturday's All-Star Skills Competition offered an opportunity to peer into the future of data collection in the NHL.

The league used the event to test a tracking system developed by Sportvision - the company responsible for other sports technologies like the K-Zone in baseball and the yellow first down line in football broadcasts. Tracking chips were inserted into pucks and player jerseys in order to record all on-ice movement.

"At the end of the day, we need to create a digital record of what happens on the ice, that is uniform across the league, highly accurate and allows fans to go as deep as they want to go but also allows us to tell stories," NHL COO John Collins said.

The data collected can provide information beyond the locations of players and the puck. Distances between players, skating and puck speed, as well as who has the puck and for how long can all be tracked accurately through the system, which records data 30 times per second.

Integrating Sportvision's system into daily NHL activity would enhance the broadcast experience immensely, delivering detailed information that can be displayed on the screen in real time. Widespread use would also allow for more accurate analytics measuring things like puck possession and zone entries.

Executives from the NHL and NHLPA will meet with Sportvision executives soon to discuss the results of Saturday's test. If all goes well, tracking technology could find its way into meaningful games before long.

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NHL tests Sportvision tracking program during Skills Competition
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