International Ice Hockey Federation

The shot-speed clock

The shot-speed clock

IIHF debuts new stats for all to see

Published 20.05.2017 00:35 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
The shot-speed clock
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 7: The shot speed clock is shown during preliminary round action between Norway and Switzerland at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Technology meets player power as the IIHF has worked for more than a year to develop new technology for fans.

In an effort to bring the game to fans and to generate more interest in how hockey works, the IIHF has introduced a new clock for this World Championship that shows the speed of shots.

The system was developed by Matsport in France and came out of a challenge by Horst Lichtner, the IIHF’s General Secretary. He wanted a platform to show the speed and power of the game in some material way that the average, or novice, fan could relate to. Over the last year, the IIHF worked with Matsport to get the system to the point it’s at now—ready to fire on all cylinders.

This system was tested first at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games and then at the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland last December, but the clock and stats system is making its official debut here at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Here’s how it works. There are three radars at the top of the glass behind each goal. Each produces a reading of all movement on the ice. But to ensure the radars don’t overheat from constant use, the system is designed to distinguish between larger objects such as players and smaller objects, like pucks. As a result, the radars measure only high-velocity shots and not passes, player movement, or other speeds which are ancillary to the prime purpose (shot speed).

Each of the three radars produces its own reading, so the shot-speed operator in the control room uses the software application to produce an average speed. This is then displayed on the shot-speed clock located behind each goal (in Paris) or on the scoreboard (in Cologne) where fans can see (much like the display of service speed in tennis). The radars are calibrated against a standard to ensure accuracy.

So who has recorded the hardest shot so far in Paris & Cologne, and how does it compare to other measured times? We have the answers for you right here!

Canada's Herculean defenceman Colton Parayko let rip a blast that clocked 167.9 km/h during the team's final round-robin game against Finland. It was also a goal. That is just off the NHL record of 169.7 km/h set by Zdeno Chara during the 2009 All-Star Game skills competition. The fastest shot ever recorded belongs to Denis Kulyash at the KHL's 2011 All-Star skills fest with 177.6 km/h.

The IIHF has procured a sponsor for the event and at the end of each period the “Thalys fastest shot of the period” is announced. Thalys is the bullet train connecting the host cities Cologne and Paris in just three-and-a-half hours. But this is only one small, commercial use of the stats produced by these recordings.

“Technically, you can produce stats which show who has the hardest shot, what team shoots the hardest on average, and the average shot speed of goals scored,” suggested Kevin Mark, New Media Manager for the IIHF. “Of course, the possibilities are endless.”

“The measurement system we use is Doppler,” explained IT Director Martin Zoellner. “Radars produce microwaves which are directed towards objects, and the change in the returning wavelength frequency is used to calculate velocity. The change in the returning signal is called the Doppler effect, which is measured by the radar and shared with a software application.”

If the explanation is too technical for the average fan, the results aren’t. Shot speed captures the power of the players—and the skill of the goaltenders who face these rubber bullets all game long.


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