NHL pauses use of tracking pucks due to performance issues

Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson picks up pucks after a practice. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

The NHL announced Wednesday that it would be pausing its puck tracking program, effective immediately, due to concerns with the performance of the pucks in the first week of the season.

In a statement, the NHL says “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,” adding that it hopes to have a new batch of pucks with trackers “available soon.”

In the meantime, beginning with Tuesday’s games, the NHL will revert back to using pucks from the 2019-20 season without tracking chips.

The NHL originally announced at the 2019 All-Star Game that it would be implementing puck and player technology for the 2019-20 season but it first was used in games during this past summer’s bubble playoffs. The NHL said player tracking would not be impacted by Tuesday’s announcement.

“The theory behind player and puck tracking was to give people insights into the game who maybe would learn how special the game is and would understand it a little bit better and so we started with the possibility of having broadcast enhancement,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in 2019. “But now in the era that we’re in, the opportunities were limitless. If you’re a Millennial or a Gen Z in particular and you’re consuming sports differently than it’s ever been consumed before, we’re going to be right there for you giving you what you want.”

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