This past Friday we missed the 21st birthday of one of the craziest things to ever happen in sports.
Those of you who follow hockey will probably know that I am of course talking about the Glow Puck, which debuted on Jan. 20, 1996 at the NHL All-Star game in Boston. That’s right, the Glow Puck is now old enough to have a beer. Sorry for making you feel old.
In honor of its 21st birthday, the folks at Sports Business Daily have put out an oral history of how the puck came to be.
Let’s take a look back at what the glow puck looked like in action.
For those of you who don’t follow hockey, let’s explain how this came to be.
Prior to the invention of HDTV, some sports were nearly impossible to watch on TV, because you couldn’t follow the action, hockey and golf most notably.
Well FOX, who acquired the rights to broadcast NHL hockey in 1994, decided that the reason fans didn’t watch hockey was because you couldn’t see the puck on those small, non-HD screens of the day.
It’s a reason my girlfriend has trouble with the game, even in person she struggles to find the puck throughout the game.
So they basically put a computer chip inside the puck that made it “glow” on TV, when it was moving slowly it was blue and could even be seen through the boards. When it was passed hard of shot at the net, it turned red and a tail followed it, as well as telling you how fast the shot was.
It was all a little odd and very 90’s, but the idea made sense, to be completely honest. Sadly, the Glow Puck only lasted until 1998.
I’ve long said the Glow Puck was actually a good idea, because it did make it easier to follow the puck, the whole point of the invention. But hockey “purists” won out and then probably tried to start a fight with someone claiming it’s “old time hockey.”
So here’s to you Glow Puck, a vision ahead of its team.