If there’s one sport that has kept up to speed with the rapidly evolving technology of our world, it’s ice hockey. The sport has long been at the forefront of innovation, and technology in the NHL has been used to improve the game for players, coaches, and spectators.
It’s no secret that technology has enormously impacted our lives, and how we watch and play sports is no exception. However, for athletes competing at the top level, technology helps them improve and succeed in many ways. Let’s look at how technology has changed ice hockey for the better, where tech is taking the sport, and what new technologies mean for fans across the country.
Innovative in-game technology in the NHL
Advanced performance analytics
One of the most significant ways that technology has revolutionized hockey is by allowing players and coaches to analyze play in detail and in real time. Gone are the days of watching hours of video recordings and jotting down improvements with a pen and paper. Today, players and coaches utilize abundant data points collected from various wearable technologies.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is currently trialing a new tracking system – a wearable tracking chip placed in the hockey puck and player to monitor and record various in-game components. The chip will focus on player performance factors such as acceleration, speed, and power, as well as information on physiological aspects such as heart rate and distance.
This data allows coaches to understand their players better, helping them improve to their game and adapt their strategy in real time. During training, this valuable information allows players to improve their game and analyze opponents in more detail than ever before.
Precision goal-line tech
Goal-line tech is used in several sports, but many don’t know that ice hockey was one of the first adopters of the tech! Sports such as tennis use the Hawk-Eye camera to help referees make close calls, and the English Premier League has recently adopted VAR. However, goal-line tech has helped referees on the ice for years, making the game easier to watch, faster flowing and fairer.
Virtual reality training
One of the lesser-known ways that tech has helped ice hockey improve is through virtual reality training. Virtual reality simulators allow athletes to train off ice, practice movements and mimic real-life game situations – helping to develop muscle memory and their mental game.
Safe and lightweight equipment
Many sports have adopted wearable trackers that provide in-game feedback on a range of physiological and performance-based factors. From heart rate and distance covered to accuracy and power, these chips can easily be placed in the backs of jerseys.
Additionally, the gear and kit used in ice hockey today have become much more lightweight and less cumbersome than the outfits of yesteryear. Nowadays, the best hockey sticks feel like you’re holding nothing, whereas the protective gear is safe and comfortable.
Moreover, 3D scanners can also be used to measure players’ exact height, weight, and dimensions so that the kit can fit each individual exactly. Coupled with super-lightweight and durable material, the hockey clothing and equipment we have nowadays contributes significantly to the level of the game.
Technology and enhanced fan experiences
For fans, the technology that we take for granted today has made ice hockey more accessible and enjoyable for millions of fans, at home and in the stadium. The introduction of 5G networks across the US has meant that stadium signals have strengthened, allowing fans to tap into their favorite sports betting platforms such as BetDSI, look up stats, and follow other games in real time.
The NHL recently announced the next generation of experience for fans watching NHL games in the stadium. From new camera angles and real-time replays to stats and dedicated game apps, countless new features are in the works.
The organization is working on multiple ways to drastically improve the in-stadium experience in conjunction with its tech partners. For instance, Verizon is developing an app where users can check out live replays and see alternate camera angles on their devices.
It’s a fascinating time for ice hockey fans! Industry leaders, athletes and tech companies continue collaborating and improving our game, and we can’t wait to see what this next round of additions holds.