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Friday, June 21, 2024

AI Replicates NHL Players: Stanley Cup Playoffs Watch Party

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The 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are well underway and the Finals are just around the corner — and though the Cup is a tradition that’s been around since 1892, advancing AI technology is creating new ways for fans to interact with the game.

Hockey enthusiasts packed the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, for a Western Conference Finals watch party this week, while the game was being played in Edmonton, Canada. The arena’s big screen played the live broadcast.

However, on the ice, fans at a watch party were treated to a live, play-by-play look of what was happening on the ice in a rink thousands of miles away in another country. Through AI technology, the players’ exact movements were replicated in real-time in the form of color-coded circles that were projected onto the ice. (In Game 4, the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars in a 5-2 comeback).

Related: PNC Arena Bans New York Residents Buying NHL Playoff Tickets

Fans shared clips of the technology in use on social media to the awe of hockey fans around the world.

“That’s seriously cool,” one fan wrote.

“That’s amazing,” another said. “And very useful!”

Technology company SMT explained how the technology works in a follow-up post.

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“What you’re seeing is actually our SPRITES app projected on-ice,” the company wrote. “This comes from our puck- and player-tracking technology, known as NHL EDGE, which uses infrared technology and various cameras to track exact puck and player positions!”

The Stars’ official X account confirmed that the arena will bring back the new technology for Game 6, which is set to start at 8 p.m. Friday.

The technology could have limitless applications, affecting players looking to be scouted and teams looking to make big trades — watching precise movements in real-time in a technical manner could mean making analytical decisions cleaner with fewer distractions.

The Stanley Cup playoffs continue tonight with Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals set to take place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The series is tied 2-2.





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