Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to say something that will make all hardcore NHL fans cringe, cry and throw tantrums of epic proportions. It will either make you raise an eyebrow (because you have no idea what I'm talking about) or shake your head and call me an ass.

Ladies and gentlemen, I say...


For those who weren't born then, have no idea what I'm talking about or have managed to completely erase this abomination from your mind, the glowing puck (which was officially called "FoxTrax") had a two year run beginning at the 1996 All-Star Game here in Boston.

A look at a glow puck used in the 1997 All-Star Game

Now, the construction of the glow puck isn't really important, but if you're interested here it is straight from Wikipedia:

To create the FoxTrax puck, a standard NHL puck was cut in half, and a tiny circuit board with a battery was placed inside. The circuit board contained a shock sensor and infrared emitters that were located on the flat surfaces and perimeter of the puck. The enhanced puck was engineered to have the same weight, balance, and rebound as the original puck. The two halves were then bonded with a proprietary epoxy compound and the puck could be used for gameplay. The FoxTrax was developed with assistance from News Corp's Etak navigation subsidiary. While the batteries were designed to last for 30 minutes, and some were successfully used in tests for more than 60 minutes, a typical puck lasted only about 10 minutes on the ice. For that reason 30 FoxTrax pucks were provided for each game. The puck was activated when it was dropped by the ref or struck by a hockey stick.

If you're really interested, here's a real in-depth look at how this was created.

Although quoting Wikipedia isn't really a reliable source and proves that I have little to no journalism skills what-so-ever, it gets the job done.

The glow puck, however, came with a lot of controversy. Those who have ever lived in New England at one time in their life either played hockey or had someone in their family that played hockey. Let's be frank for a minute (well you can be frank, I'll stick to pezell). The Northeast area of the United States was once a hockey hotbed where just about everyone had put the skates on before at some stage in their life. High school hockey arenas were always packed and people generally loved the sport.

These hardcore hockey fans HATED the glow puck. I can't blame them, I despised it at the time as well. The Hockey Faithful called the puck a joke for a few reasons:

1. It made hockey look like a video game.
2. It wasn't hard to follow a black puck on a white surface.
3. It was harder to follow a baseball being hit into the sky, yet there were no complaints for a glow ball.

Newcomers enjoyed the glow puck because it made it easier for them to see the puck, though I just believe that Fox was playing to America's motto of "If we don't have to do work, we like it!"

After doing some digging, it's apparent that even Versus wanted to bring the glow puck back! This was written back in May of 2008.

"The NHL and cable TV partner Versus are talking about introducing "puck-tracking" technology as early as the 2008-09 season, executives from the network and the league told USA TODAY."

You can read the rest of it here.

It's apparent that everyone wants the glow puck back! RED COMET TAILS FOR ALL!

My feelings? Well I feel that the glow puck was just a disastrous move because it brought the game of hockey down to a child's level. Honestly, if you want to watch the sport, then watch the sport, but don't complain that you can't see the puck. If that's the case, I want a glow ball in golf and in baseball because once those hit the sky, you can't see shit.


Yup, ESPN debuted "Ball Track" (clever, I know) during the Homerun Derby and it was disastrous for a few reasons.

A. They used 1 camera angle which, I felt, sucked.
B. The ball's projected line was jumpy as hell and made little to no sense.

Bring back the glow puck? Hell no. I'm making it an official decree that no balls, in any sport, should ever possess something inside of them that make them glow. If you can't follow a sport because "you can't see the puck/ball" then you need to stop watching sports because clearly you're just not getting.



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