If you’ve ever wondered what the NHL game you’re watching looks like from ice level, for select games this season, you’re going to find out.
A little more than a week ago, it was revealed that the NHL was patnering with GoPro to mount cameras on referees’ helmets for various games this season. For the league’s opening weekend, officials wore cameras on their helmets for the two Canadian broadcasts on Sportsnet Wednesday night. The results were pretty spectacular.
The network was able to get the footage from the cameras for the live broadcast, sometimes even switching during a play to the referee's perspective. As you’d expect it’s incredibly unique.
Is it just me or did that ref totally miss the faceoff dot on that drop?
How about this one, though. Here’s a look at what Tim Peel saw in the middle of a scrum between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. It gives a great look at how those testy gatherings can sometimes devolve as tempers flare.
Those that were viewing the game live were seeing this as it happened on the ice from where Peel was standing. Technology is just the best.
The helmet cam also might help provide a good check on the refs, as Peel found out the hard way.
After the veteran official waved off a goal from Canucks forward Radim Vrbata for a high stick, one of the broadcast replays included Peel's view from the helmet cam. Though that angle was surprisingly inconclusive, Peel’s call was eventually overturned (probably thanks to other angles) by the NHL’s war room, which declared Vrbata's goal should stand.
Here’s another look via GIF from @cjzero of the isolated angle.
There will probably be some pros and cons to the helmet cams this year and not every angle may be terribly fair to the referees, but seeing the game from their perspective is a real treat for any hockey fan. The fact that they’re getting live shots from the ice merely enhances the viewing experience for anyone checking the game out from their couch.
The only people who might not love the cameras are the referees themselves. They are a little... odd looking.
Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of what these cameras can do in the near future, but it was a pretty terrific debut Wednesday night.