At Saturday night’s all-star game, we got our first glimpse of how coming puck- and player-tracking data can be used to enhance a broadcast for the audience at home.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 26, 2019
Using transmitters in players’ shoulder pads and inside the puck, the system captures the location and identity for each entity in each moment. The all-star game used this data to show us overlays for who each player is, how long their shifts have lasted, and how fast their shots are, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. This information will totally transform how coaching and management decisions are made.
Here are some important, practical questions that can be answered using the new data. These are questions that might be somewhat answerable now, but the new data will introduce a previously impossible economy of scale while reducing data-entry errors, human bias, and rink-to-rink variations. There’s no guarantee that we will ever see this data (and it’s not entirely clear who, the players or the league, will own the data), but this is what I’d want to know if I were an analyst or coach.