On October 8, 2014, the NHL and GoPro officially began a content sharing agreement. These two parties have been flirting with each other for the past year or so, but this marks a new chapter in NHL entertainment. GoPro cameras are now being placed on professional hockey player’s helmets. This POV technology will enables those, like myself, who have ever wondered what a 102 MPH slapshot looks like coming at you or the maneuvers and dodges wing players have to make to get to the goal. The videos these GoPro cameras capture will be used on NHL.com and NHL highlights, but also be used to create interesting YouTube videos on both GoPro’s and the NHL’s YouTube channels. However, the ultimate purpose of this POV video is for TV audiences. The NHL is trying to keep up with other professional sports and their innovative angles and breakdowns (most notably, MLB and their highly accurate strike zone visuals and the NBA’s behind the backboard dunk cam). The NHL is trying to get people to tune in and stay hooked. The exact networks with access to the POV video are: NBC Sports, Rogers (a Canadian network), and the NHL Network.
Surprisingly, this technology HAS been seen in the NHL before. In fact, it happened twice in the 1990s. On Sept. 27, 1991, former Los Angeles Kings goaltender, Kelly Hrudey, wore a camera on his mask during an outdoor regular season game in the Caesar’s Palace parking lot. Additionally, in 1993, Patrick Roy continued the idea by sporting a camera during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. This idea has been tooled around with over the years, but it’s exciting to now see it finalized and secured to the helmets of some of the world’s most talented players.
Ultimately, this partnership serves the NHL well because it entices viewers that would otherwise not even care about hockey and it also allows GoPro to venture from its extreme sport beginnings (skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, etc.).
I guess now I’m just waiting for the day a player’s shot hits the GoPro camera, ricochets into the goal, and he rightfully earns the number one spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. I can just see it happening. Literally.