Waterloo Black Hawks to be first USHL team to use video review technology in regular season game
The United States Hockey League is taking another step to improve game operations as the use of video review will be introduced in select buildings. The Waterloo Black Hawks are the first team to be approved by the USHL Hockey Operations to implement video review for the purpose of disputed goals, and their home game on Friday, January 31st against the Muskegon Lumberjacks will be the first USHL regular season game to have the video resource available to the on-ice officials.
USHL referees determine whether a goal has been scored, but multiple camera angles, including overhead, will give officials another vantage point to help clarify situations where the original call on the ice may be disputed.
“Ultimately, the officials on the ice want to make the proper decisions on whether goals are scored legally, but the ability to use replay when they feel it necessary is an excellent tool to make sure they arrive at the correct decision,” said Scott Zelkin, Manager of Junior Officiating Development Program for USA Hockey and the USHL Referee-in-Chief.
The USHL first experimented with video review for disputed goals during the Fall Classic West, hosted by the Sioux City Musketeers at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, paving the way for future use in regular season contests.
After a significant financial commitment this summer by the Waterloo Black Hawks, the City of Waterloo, and Black Hawk County Gaming Association, improvements to the scoreboard and video technology at Young Arena have made it possible for the implementation of the video review.
“At this level, skill development is the most important thing we can provide to players, coaches, and officials, and the new technology available at Young Arena helps that cause for all,” said Waterloo Black Hawks Vice President Mike Falk. “From the time the USHL indicated that they were interested in making video review part of the game, we wanted to be at the forefront of this innovation.”
The USHL has researched and discussed introducing video review of goals for the past few seasons, but varying logistics, technology, and resources in each USHL arena has not yet allowed for League-wide implementation. The efforts made by the Waterloo Black Hawks will give the USHL an opportunity to further examine the process and determine future use of video review in the League.
“First of all, the League congratulates Waterloo and its corporate and civic partners on the installation of one of the more advanced video installations anywhere in hockey below the National Hockey League,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. “The level of entertainment it brings to the fans is extraordinary, in an arena already nationally known for its atmosphere, but just as importantly, the system now allows the League, for the first time, to have a reliable, well-placed series of cameras and angles to assist the on-ice and off-ice officials in reviewing certain calls. It’s a real advance, part of the future of the game, and it’s only fitting that it’s launched in Waterloo."
In the event of a disputed goal or scoring play that needs further review, on-ice officials will be able to look at video replay through a monitor stationed at ice level to help determine the proper call. Reviewable plays include determining whether a puck completely crosses the goal line, a puck crossing the line prior to the net being dislodged, a puck being directed into the net by attacking player with anything besides a stick, a puck that has been kicked in or directed in with a kicking motion, a puck being deflected in by a high stick, or a puck entering the net off an official.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14. A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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