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Smart Pucks Are Coming

I for one, welcome our new data overlords

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Beginning in 2018-19, the NHL will be using pucks that collect data while on-ice.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Smart pucks are coming to the NHL.

Yeah, that was fun.

1996 saw the “Fox Trax” puck come to prominence with a bushy red tail and glow-on-the-ice technology. The glow-puck was a quick flash in the pan, and it didn’t do anything as far as data goes. A puck will be revealed in the not-too-distant future that will track location, and that’s something we all should be interested in.

The data could be transmitted up to 200 times a second, which would be extremely useful for coaches to determine what’s working (and what’s not working) on the ice. The data would also be extremely useful to all fans, especially those who take interest in analytics. One of the most simple things that could be determined with this data would be puck possession - which team has the puck more often. Another would be shot location - where are the shots coming from? How many? Where are the rebounds being given up?

The puck is tentatively set to be used in the 2019-20 season.

As with anything new, I expect push back from people who are afraid of numbers, counting, and generally figuring stuff out. Here’s hoping that certain GMs of certain hockey clubs are eager to jump on getting a leg up on their competition.