NHL’s ‘Smart Puck’ will enhance fan experience

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The NHL has already announced that the Smart Puck era is quickly approaching, which is exciting news for hockey fans all over the globe.

The league is planning on having this added technology at their disposal for the start of the 2019-20 season, but there’s a chance that we could get a preview of it at the start of next year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So you might be wondering how this will enhance the hockey experience for fans, coaches and players. It’s simple. The technology will allow the league to track the puck’s movement on the ice at a rate of 200 times per second. That means that coaches will be able to get more information when it comes to possession, shot placement, shot distance and probably speed. If the coaches are getting their hands on that information, it means that they’ll be able to provide their players with even more specific data.

From a fan perspective, the added information will give outsiders more access to accurate advanced information. There are a few analytics website that already provide shot location information, but this would add a level of accuracy that we’ve never had before.

The Smart Puck can also change the way fans gamble on hockey.

“There’s no doubt that [sports betting] will be a part of the fan experience almost across any touchpoint. Live streaming products will start to incorporate betting functionality. And today, the foundation for that experience is data,” said NHL senior vice president of business development and global partnerships David Lehanski, per Sporttechie.com. “We’re seeing that 75 percent of all bets in sports now are in-game prop bets. The only way we can do that in a real-time manner is to be aggregating data and distributing it on a real-time basis with someone who can create odds and probabilities in real time and distribute that to the fan.”

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.