NHL to start trial of a new facial recognition technology in 2018-19
The NHL will use facial recognition software to track and monitor players who wear the league’s uniform.
The technology is a first in the NHL, but the league hopes it will be able to identify players from more than just their jersey number and jersey number logo.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and executive vice president of player personnel Doug Armstrong said in a statement Wednesday that the technology will be used for player safety, “not just the stats.”
The technology will not be used to monitor players’ performance, and Bettman said that the NHL is committed to providing accurate information to the public on all aspects of player safety.
The league will be using the technology to “help keep our fans safe and to protect our players, coaches, and players’ families.”
The NHL has used facial recognition to identify a number of players, including three players with ties to the Montreal Canadiens who were banned from the NHL after being implicated in a crime and two players with NHL ties who were suspended after being accused of assaulting a woman in a bar.
The NHL announced the new technology last week in an update to its facial recognition program.
The facial recognition algorithm will not only identify players and players-related information but will also analyze facial expressions to identify facial features.
The program is a “deep dive” into the facial recognition, Bettman told reporters Wednesday.
It will be up to the NHL to decide how to share that information.
The face recognition technology will also help the league with the implementation of facial recognition systems in the upcoming NHLPA-NHL Combined Competition, Bettmann said.
The 2018-2019 season begins March 29.