The NHL began the season with tracking pucks, but that release has already gone sideways.
Tuesday night, the league announced that it would be suspending the use of tracking pucks because “concerns were raised about the puck’s performance.” The league went on to say that “finishing treatments” were off during the manufacturing process. The league will reintroduce the tracking pucks once it received a new shipment which will be “available soon.”
The full release reads:
NHL Statement Regarding Tracking Pucks
NEW YORK (Jan. 19, 2021) – The National Hockey League announced today that, effective with tonight’s games, the League will be using game pucks without the imbedded tracking technology. The decision was made after concerns were raised about the puck’s performance during the first few days of the 2020-21 season. A review by the League determined that the first supply of 2020-21 pucks did not receive the same precise finishing treatments during the off-season manufacturing process as were used during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is expected that a new supply of the League’s “tracking pucks” will be available soon and, after undergoing appropriate quality control testing, will be back in use for all games. In the interim, the League will use the official game pucks from the 2019-20 season and will continue to utilize Player tracking technology for all games.
The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn observed that the new pucks have been extra bouncy early in the season.
puck has been extra bouncy but i thought the players were just a lil rusty
— dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) January 19, 2021
The NHL has spent years trying to perfect and fully implement player- and puck-tracking data which will transform how we understand the game.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) January 26, 2019
The league used tracking pucks during the tail end of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs and during the 2019 All-Star Game but has been unable to fully implement the pucks for a full season yet.
The pucks have sensors placed inside the puck while players wear transmitters in their shoulder pads. A system set up in the arena then captures the location and identity for each moment.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) January 14, 2021
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