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:
LOL the ref cam capturing Ovechkin going off after his goal is disallowed is gold. pic.twitter.com/UGsCrFEf5h
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) September 19, 2016
A McDavid-to-Matthews masterpiece:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 20, 2016
A big hit by Leo Komarov on Aaron Ekblad:
Ref cam view of the Komarov hit on Ekblad. pic.twitter.com/Sa1VHnDFyg
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) September 20, 2016
Some incredible stickwork from John Tavares:
Here's John Tavares making people look foolish from ref cam https://t.co/LOVpNmKmew
— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) September 21, 2016
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.