Stars GM Jim Nill wants to see the NHL implement SportVu league-wide
In the search for better data to inform the decision making of an NHL front office, nothing has more potential than SportVu's camera-tracking system.
SportVu, which has been adopted by the NBA already, has the potential to clean up the persistent errors in the league's play-by-play data and (notoriously biased) tracking of real-time statistics. It might also provide the public with a wealth of data that isn't currently accessible, like Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene's top speed skating through the neutral zone, or Nashville Predators defender Shea Weber's average shot speed on one-timers.
The NHL is aware of the story telling potential of SportVu's data for fans, but at least one NHL executive is now on the record as supporting the full implementation of SportVu cameras as a way of improving decision making. That general manager is Dallas Stars executive Jim Nill, who has been enormously successful in his first year-and-change in North Texas.
From an excellent interview Nill granted to Travis Yost of The Sporting News:
I want to see SportVu implemented league-wide. It’s something we’ve talked about at the GM meetings and the Board of Governor meetings. They’re going to start playing with a little bit — it’s in a lot of the NBA arenas, and we were following it closely during the World Cup as well. The league’s working on it and it’s something that’s going to come in to play down the road. You know, our sport — it’s so unique from other sports. You talk about these other sports, no one else has the number of changes we have during our game. There are changes every 30 or 40-seconds. The important part is getting the technology right when we do it, we want to do it right. And I look forward to that being implemented moving forward.
There are currently nine shared NBA and NHL arenas, and there will be a 10th once the New York Islanders move to the Barclay's Center for the start of the 2015-16 season. One of those arenas is the American Airline Center in Dallas, which, wouldn't you know it, is the home arena of Nill's Stars.
The NHL is currently considering a number of options to improve their gathering of real-time statistical data, including a system developed by Sportsvision (who were the pioneers behind the FoxTrax glow puck of the late 90s). The plan is to experiment with a variety of potential systems this upcoming season with an eye towards rolling out a standardized league-wide tracking system for the start of the 2015-16 season.