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NHL pursuing revolutionary player-tracking systems

Technology would be camera-based, removing need for uniform chips

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

MANALAPAN, Fla. -- The NHL is working to invent revolutionary on-ice player-tracking technology it hopes to implement for the 2019-20 season or, potentially, as early as the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday.

The technology would not require tracking chips on the players, instead relying upon camera-based technology, Commissioner Bettman said Friday at the conclusion of the two-day Board of Governors meetings.

"We're in the process of working with some technology companies to invent technology that doesn't currently exist, because it's more complicated to do this than in any of the other sports for a whole host of reasons which relate to the attributes of our games, the physical contact, the sticks, the speed and everything else," Commissioner Bettman said. "But we're committed to doing it and we're investing a fair amount of money to do it."

The NHL has worked with companies on player- and puck-tracking technologies in the past, including at the 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus and during the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

"We learned that we can get the technology to work but we needed it to work better so that it could be scalable," Commissioner Bettman said. "Doing it for 16 or 17 games in a two-week period in one building [at the World Cup] is a lot different than 1,271 games in 31 buildings."

He said the NHL will roll out testing of the new technology at future events, including, perhaps, at the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Tampa, Florida.

"It is a work in progress but we're very confident that we're going to get this to work," Commissioner Bettman said, "and the amount of data that it will provide in addition to creating opportunities for broadcasters to use it in real time is pretty exciting."

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