NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has confirmed that puck and player tracking is coming to the league next season.
The league is partnering with German company Jogmo World Corp to put microchips on player jerseys and inside pucks. Real-time data will be gathered by antennas in all 31 NHL arenas.
Players have agreed to the tracking, but the NHL is not yet committing to a firm start date because officials say testing is ongoing with the potential for changes after feedback from players, teams and broadcasters.
“This will continue to evolve and be monitored and tested and perfected over the course of the rest of this season and parts of next season,” NHL chief revenue officer Keith Wachtel said.
“But this is our opportunity to say that we are far enough along where the commissioner is comfortable with the data and our broadcasters are comfortable and the NHLPA is comfortable that we can go ahead and unleash this, which we’re obviously excited about.”
NBC will showcase puck and player tracking as part of its broadcast of the NHL All Star Game skills competition tonight (Friday) and then as the centrepiece of a digital-only broadcast of the All-Star on 3-on-3 tournament on Saturday night.
NBC Sports producer Steve Greenberg said: “We’re scratching the surface here, and what we’re able to display this weekend is not what we’re going to be able to display next year and in the future, but it’s going to be able to be a really good first look at what these chips are going to be able to give us.”
The NHL privately tested puck and player tracking in two regular-season games in Las Vegas earlier this month, but this will be the first time the data is available for public consumption.