Washington Capitals players are going to be able to study more than the same old game film this upcoming season.
The Capitals announced they have officially partnered with STRIVR Labs Inc., a company that specializes in virtual reality technology, to change the way they approach player development. The technology will also be used in-arena to improve the game-day experience, according to the Capitals. The multi-year deal with STRIVR falls under the Monumental Sports & Entertainment banner, meaning the other clubs controlled by Caps owner Ted Leonsis will also get the technology.
“STRIVR’s virtual reality technology will provide our teams and players with increased visualization techniques and training skills as well as an unmatched in-arena and VIP game-day experience,” Leonsis said in a release.
With the use of virtual reality, Capitals players will be able to re-watch 3D replays of moments throughout the season with use of headphones and a virtual reality headset. In the replays, players will be able to look in any direction and get a better grasp of what the correct decision would have been in a given scenario.
“Our players grew up in a video games era, and we believe this method of teaching and sharing of data points will better illustrate what occurs on the court and the ice,” Leonsis said. “We also have a strong core of young fans who gravitate to video and gaming, and we believe this technology will resonate with them and increase their engagement with our teams.”
One interesting perspective on the technology came from Capitals blueliner John Carlson. The 25-year-old defenseman said being given the ability to practice his decision-making without actually participating on ice could help him make small but significant changes to his game.
“The potential competitive advantage that virtual reality training can give us is huge,” said Carlson in a release. “STRIVR’s experience with football and quarterbacks is exciting for me, because I feel hockey defensemen and quarterbacks go through a similar decision-making process. The virtual reality technology is going to help me fine tune my decision making in games and allow me to train as if I’m at practice without having to be on the ice.”
That Carlson, who scored 12 goals and 55 points this past season with Washington, believes he can improve his game further with the technology is about all the stamp of approval STRIVR likely needs from the Capitals.
This isn’t the first time Leonsis has embraced new technology. Teams under Leonsis’ Monumental Sports & Entertainment were early adopters of the use of video technology on the bench, and the NBA’s Washington Wizards were among the first to install SportsVU cameras, which track player movements on the court.