11 December 2015

Smart Puck Enters the Finnish Hockey League

Liiga_logoThe Finnish Hockey League (Liiga) and the Finnish national betting agency Veikkaus today introduced a development project, which will revolutionize hockey. The Smart Puck will be used in the official games already during this season. The Finnish Hockey League, the Finnish Hockey Federation and the International Ice Hockey Centre of Excellence (IIHCE) have been testing and evaluating different technologies used for following the players and the puck since last spring. As a result, the Finnish League will be using technology developed by Finnish companies Quuppa and SportIQ.

It’s time to introduce the Smart Puck to a larger audience. The first system will be deployed in the Tampere Hakametsä ice-hall and will be taken in use during January 2016.

Juha Huhta, Executive Producer of Liiga, talks about the background of the project: “Until now, the statistics have been made by humans – who occasionally make mistakes. Our goal is to use this new technology to generate error-free statistics. We also want to create better sports entertainment and service for the spectators at the game, as well as for the audience following the game on TV and online.”

Kimmo Kalliola, CEO of Quuppa, explains the technology: “The real-time tracking system is based on small radio transceivers, which are attached on the players’ gear and embedded inside the puck. Directional antennas – aka Locators – are measuring the direction of the signals and with that, the system is able to locate the players and the puck in real-time. This enables very accurate virtualization of the game events.”

Anssi Vanjoki, Chairman of SportIQ, says there are many elements in the game that we can see but haven’t been able to verify. “With this new technology we can generate detailed statistics for example about the time on ice, the skating speed and distance of every player; or puck possession, automatic shot maps and speed of the shots”, he continues.

Rauli Urama, High-Performance Director at The Finnish Ice Hockey Association, points out that Smart Puck enables new tools also for coaching. “We want to know what the player is doing during the game and what kind of feedback he needs to improve his performance. A player has to be an active learner”, he summarizes.

Sami Kauhanen, Director of Sport Games at the Finnish national betting agency Veikkaus, is excited about the new possibilities this new system will open for betting. “We want to produce content that will differentiate us from our competitors. We want to visualize live-betting and create totally new services.”

Kimmo Rannisto, CEO of Liiga, sees the improved statistics as a positive thing. “We want to embrace new technology and bring statistics to a whole new level, in order to make the game easier to understand. Datatainment is a hot topic, and we can build new services around that.” The Smart Puck fulfills the requirements of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and looks just like an ordinary puck. Also, the Tags on the players will not be visible.  

  Press coverage on Finnish media:


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