Microphones can be the bane of refs’ existence.  There’s nothing more awkward than to hear an official experience mic problems prior to – or during – a key announcement. 

The National Hockey League has upgraded their officials’ mics for the 2018-19 NHL season.

The league’s previous setup had separate transmitter and on-off switches, leaving officials to fumble around with two parts before activating their microphones.  The new unit – Quantum 5X RefMicHD – has the on-off switch integrated into the transmitter. 

The NHL tested the new gear during the 2017-18 season before rolling it out in all buildings for the start of the current campaign. 

The RefMicHD can also be controlled remotely. No longer will it all come down to the official flicking the on-off switch.  Mics can be activated at any time, the transmitter’s status can be monitored during the game, and the mic can be switched off remotely if an official leaves the mic on after making an announcement – possibly avoiding any inadvertent transmissions. 


The new devices run nearly $3000 per unit.

With this change, the NHL goes to one consolidated platform for on-ice microphones.  National Hockey League players have been mic’d up using Q5X’s PlayerMic for a select game each week.  

“The PlayerMic is in use by the NBA and MLB, but this is the first time we’ve had our receivers used both on the player and the officials’ sides,” Johnson said.

Ref mics that work?  Chalk this one up as a win for the officials.