NHL GM Meetings 2017 – Agreement on 5 big changes to Pro Hockey.

 Testing Automated Refs, Night Games and 4 on 4 hockey among the top  ideas in 2017 NHL GM meetings

It is clear that the National Hockey League game is quickly evolving and opportunities for profit are increasing. Team Owners are challenging their General Managers to make changes that will assure them maximum profits. In the 2017 NHL GM Meetings in Boca Raton Florida 5 main changes were approved for implementation:

NHL Outdoor Game at Night
Night Hockey will be comparable to Superbowl Halftime shows – spectacular with a deep  meaningful message  

 Issue:  Outdoor games are getting boring

They bring a lot of new fans to the game and help build the NHL brand but they are becoming repetitive.

Answer: Outdoor Games at Night

These definitely won’t be called “Classic” match-ups. Hockey GMs hope these night-light events will be as successful as the NASCAR Night races that began in 1992.

Night games will be a spectacular event appealing to neon loving fans of figure skating, dancing and electronica clubs.  Most of the light technology is available now including skates with colored LEDs that the pro players will love.

The league will also be testing embedding light in the concrete slab to make back-lit glowing ice.

NHL Hockey Auto Referees
“Hey Ref you Suck!”  Might even use these puppies to continually clean the ice – not just between periods

Issue: there is not enough room on the ice and instant replays are taking too long.

Bigger faster players are making the ice crowded and injuries are up. Owners don’t want to incur the costs of building larger ice surfaces. Instant replays are adding time to the games which owners don’t want. They make as much money on short games as long ones with fewer staff costs.

Answer: Automated Referees

Roomba has perfected the robotic vacuum. Replacing the dirt bag with cameras and adding studs to the wheels will make the perfect referees. They will roam the ice and feed data back to a supercomputer. Calls will be made in milliseconds so there will be no questionable calls or replays required.

They will have a larger version which can drop pucks for faceoffs. Since the league has ended fighting there is no need to have any human Refs on the ice.

Broadcasters like TSN, Sportsnet and NBC will love all the extra content and gladly pay millions to the league for it.

NHL 4 on 4 Hockey
Dropping positions is not new, approx. 100 years ago all hockey leagues outside of Ireland dropped the Rover position.

Issue: Lack of #1 Centers

The NHL is pushing for parity but there are not enough 1# centers with the size and skill to be competitive the league wants to continue expanding.

Answer: Drop the Center position from the game for permanent 4 on 4 hockey.

There are not enough quality centers to go around so the NHL will make them wingers. 4 on 4 hockey will resolve the issue with the ice surface being too crowded and lead to more goal scoring entertainment.

NHL GMs think this will also allow owners to add more games and increase profits. Fewer players on the ice mean that more are on the bench resting so fans at back to back games won’t be bored by tired players.

NHL Hockey Analytics
Many players have been finding ways to build stats away from the action of the game,  this will support them.

Issue: Businesses profits are easier maximize with statistics and numeric results.

Hockey has thousands of measurable statistics but they aren’t being fully utilized by the NHL.

Answer: Proliferate hockey analytics and use the numbers to drive profits.

Before the players union was formed NHL owners had total control of the league. Players now have power that interferes with the owner’s profits. Some of the expected results of this move include:

  • Accurate 3 star selection. Player with the highest stats gets picked
  • Pay parity across the league. The stats would segment players into specific pay groups make the salary cap easier to manage. This idea is loved by the broadcasters such as TSN and Sportnet. The highlight of their broadcast year is Trade Deadline Day. Reducing salary cap restrictions will return it to the excitement of the past.
  • Contract negotiation leverage. Owners can push players to a compensation package that’s mostly commission and performance based. They love that this will mess with Player Agent’s pay.
  • Increased App sales. The league will be able to sell more technology to help fans understand the complicated stats. They also believe they can sell this to other leagues and video game companies.
  • Better coaching. The numbers can be crunched and simulations run to determine effective line combinations, optimum player Player ice time (including what part of the game they play the best), and match-ups against opposing teams.

Related: Bettman’s Plan to Sell NHL to the World

Individually these may not be liked by fans and players but many people complain that things were better in the past “Original 6” days. The owners had more control over profits then and this will help get back to that situation.

 

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