Recently, around a dozen NHL stars took to the ice in Newark with GoPro cameras fitted to their helmets. And this season, when one of them scores a goal, that footage will be used to give fans an idea of what the player sees.
As a fan, you’ve never been able to feel the speed and quickness with which a Patrick Kane or Alex Ovechkin moves up the ice with the puck, or what it’s like for them to beat the last blueliner and fire the disc past the goaltender.
But this year will be different. A new wrinkle will be added to NHL game coverage this year as the league signed a content-sharing agreement with GoPro cameras to use footage in promo campaigns, which will then be used to supplement game coverage. At a recent NHL/PA player media tour in Newark’s Prudential Center, nearly a dozen NHL stars had these cameras fitted to their helmets. This footage will be used for promos and, when one of them scores in a game, the taped footage will be used to give fans an idea of what the player would see, because they aren’t wearing these on their helmets. Yet.
Last season, referee Wes McCauley wore the GoPro during the Rangers-Devils outdoor game at Yankee Stadium and gave us a very cool glimpse into the ice-level view of an NHL game.
And in Chicago’s Soldier Field, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury wore one for practice. The downside? The players start shooting at Fleury’s head to try and hit the camera.
While player safety is a factor in fitting skaters with these cameras during a live game right now, hopefully we can at least see referees wear them more often. It gives a great – and entertaining – look into not only what the referees see, but also an understanding of their interactions with players and coaches. And, perhaps, an appreciation for just how fast the game moves and just how challenging the job of an NHL referee is.