The NHL announced that it will stop using pucks with imbedded tracking technology for the foreseeable future due to complaints about their performance during the start of the 2021 season.
The change is effective beginning with Tuesday night’s games.
The NHL reviewed the first supply of tracking pucks that it has been using and determined that they did not receive “the same precise finishing treatments during the offseason manufacturing process as were used during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
One NHL player told ESPN on Tuesday that the pucks were “terrible” and “don’t slide,” adding that players had voiced their displeasure with them.
The league said a new supply of the pucks will be available soon and will “undergo appropriate quality control testing” before being used in games. In the interim, the league said it will use official game pucks from the 2019-20 season. It will also continue to use optical player tracking, which is the other half of the two-pronged tracking system along with the devices inside the puck.
This is the first full season of puck and player tracking for the NHL, which promises to provide a significant amount of new data to enhance everything from TV broadcasts to sports wagering.
The league has attempted to embed technology inside pucks for years, finding the results too ineffective or costly. This incarnation of the pucks was used during tests and in the postseason during 2020, with a sensor in the puck tracked by 14-16 antennae installed in the arena rafters.