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NHL begins testing new microchip technology

NHL Logo. Handout. [PNG Merlin Archive]

The NHL once toyed with the ill-fated “glowing puck” to the near universal disdain of commentators and fans in the late 1990’s. But now, they’re testing a new kind of technology that they hope will help improve the game.

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Earlier this week, the Vegas Golden Knights hosted the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks; for both games, microchips were added into players shoulder pads and inside specifically fitted pucks. Additionally, team representatives from 20 different franchises as well as NHLPA associates kept track of the players and pucks via multiple antennas situated throughout T-Mobile Arena.

Previous puck and player tracking has already been tested at All-Star games and also at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Should all go according to plan, the NHL could implement the technology full-time next season. The 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend in San Jose will feature the technology where television broadcasters will have access to the data to use on the broadcasts.

“Technology gives us a chance to bring our fans closer to the game, gives them a chance to look at the game from different perspectives, to actually see from a data standpoint, from a visual standpoint more of what’s going on in the game,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told The Associated Press on Thursday night during the Golden Knights/Sharks game. “And the opportunity is unlimited in an era where technology is developing at a record pace.”

“I do think the potential positives far outweigh any negatives,” said former Red Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider who currently serves as special assistant to the NHLPA executive director. “It’s incumbent upon us to make sure we’re doing not only for the current guys what we can but for future guys. It’s a juggling act there’s no question. There’s the juggling act. But I think the timing’s right.”

The NFL also uses similar tracking technology.

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