Hockey Gets High Tech: Developers of the Shockbox Sensor Launch New Playbox Player Tracking System

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Until recently, hockey has been an area devoid of electronic technology on the ice - until now. Playbox, a new technology unveiled today by the developers at Impakt Protective automates player Time-on-Ice tracking and puts data analytics in the hands of a single person.

Playbox Logo

Playbox Logo

97% of surveyed teams and physicians rated hockey Time-on-Ice data as important.

Hockey time-on-ice shift data is highly prized and much collected in the sport, and until now was gathered manually by hosts of volunteers and note pads. Now all of that has been replaced by a single iPad, and Playbox.

Playbox, announced today by Impakt Protective, is a wireless sensor system that streams player ice-time and shift data automatically to a sideline iPad. Gone are the days of several sets of team observers tracking the forwards and defence as they rotate shifts, track penalties, shots on goal and other metrics. Even the use of complicated software tools for time-on-ice (or TOI) has been streamlined by the new technology.

There is also a medical angle to the need for Time-on-Ice data, "Muscle tightness and overuse frequently results in player injuries." explains McGill University hockey player and kinesiology graduate student Adrienne Crampton, "by monitoring shift times, coaches and athletic trainers can prevent their players from playing too much." The McGill researcher also wrote a white paper about the subject of Time-on-Ice and muscle overuse. In her findings, Crampton surveyed numerous NHL, Junior and University physicians and athletic trainers regarding the relationship between overuse and time-on-ice monitoring. "More than 56% of players get over-played, resulting in muscle injuries and noted that 97% of surveyed teams and physicians rated time-on-ice data as important"

The new technology comes from the labs at Impakt Protective, the developers of the world's first consumer head impact sensor called Shockbox. Released in 2011, Shockbox helmet sensors are in use across the world in numerous contact sports and set a benchmark for later retail priced helmet sensors. Impakt CEO Danny Crossman said, "Like Shockbox sensors, Playbox is the next evolution of wireless networked sensors in team sports." While talking about the rich data analytics environment of team sports Crossman noted that, "there are few sports data analytics systems available today that do not require significant investments in new infrastructure or manpower."

The new Playbox system streams live player data to a bench side play "box" which in turn broadcasts the data via Wi-Fi that can be accessed by anyone with the login details for their team. Each player has a micro sensor embedded in their skate that communicates with the Playbox. The new technology is slated to launch this coming hockey season with selected NHL and junior league teams in the US and Canada and will cost less than a player's set of hockey equipment.

About Impakt Protective Inc.
Incorporated in 2010, Impakt Protective is a privately owned high‐tech sensor company located in Ottawa, Canada and the creation of Danny Crossman and Scott Clark. Danny Crossman, a former Army bomb disposal officer and Business Development executive, led the development of numerous life‐saving technologies such as the bomb suit, featured in the movie The Hurt Locker; Advanced Combat Helmet impact pads; roadside bomb jammers used by the USMC and recently the Helmet Impact Sensors used by US Army and USMC to monitor mTBI in deployed soldiers and marines. Scott Clark is an active hockey player, coach as well as hockey Dad, and a former software high tech executive with experience in Program Management, Business Intelligence and Operations.

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Danny Crossman
Impakt Protective Inc
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Playbox tablet Screen ShotTime-on-Ice Overuse white paper (Crampton et al) - 2013Playbox graphic