The action on the ice during the 2016 World Cup has been terrific.  Even better is the one unique camera angle that takes you right into the middle of it: the ref cam.

We’ve seen ref cams before.  The NHL has rolled them out for highlight events, including All-Star Game and the league’s signature Winter Classic and Stadium Series events. Never have them been used as frequently or close to real-time as they have been during the World Cup. 

Here’s a look at highlights from the opening weekend, which kicks off the action with an extreme closeup of linesman Pierre Racicot:

And from Russia vs. North America:


Other moments have also made their way to social media, with the ref cams giving fans a different take on the in-game action.  

Ovechkin’s dispute of a disallowed goal:


A McDavid-to-Matthews masterpiece:


A big hit by Leo Komarov on Aaron Ekblad:


Some incredible stickwork from John Tavares:


This year’s incarnation of the ref cam features a new setup. The camera and battery are much more streamlined, even if referee Kelly Sutherland thinks it makes fellow ref Eric Furlatt look like a stormtrooper.

This year’s helmet-mounted ref cams for the World Cup of Hockey are provided by iSeeSports

Here’s a look at the evolution of NHL ref cams:

After such a successful run at the World Cup, here’s hoping the NHL will implement the ref cam in more games during the NHL season. It’s a valuable training tool for the officials and provides an amazing view from ice level for the fans. 

When the World Cup comes to a conclusion, one team will get to hoist that trophy.  The real winners, though, will be the fans, and it’s all because of the ref cam.