The virtual reality world of hockey is the latest frontier in the battle between the NHL and the NHLPA, as the players union has said it will allow players to watch a video game on their own TVs while they’re on the ice.
This is just the latest example of a game-changing move by the league, which is also looking at bringing video games to its fans through streaming.
The NHL has long offered video games and sports entertainment to fans through a virtual environment.
In 2017, the league unveiled its first-ever virtual reality experience for the 2017 Winter Classic in St. Louis.
Players have been invited to take part in virtual play, in which they play against real players in a virtual arena.
But the NHL is still focused on bringing the virtual world to the ice, and it’s not just because it’s cheaper than an actual game.
“We’re just trying to bring the experience to the field and it’ll be something that’s affordable to everybody,” NHLPA President Don Fehr said.
“You’re going to be able to go to the game, and if you’re the type of fan that doesn’t have an internet connection, it’ll allow you to watch it.”
“We’ve been exploring a lot of different ways of how we can expand our reach, whether it’s with the internet or through other forms of entertainment.
And in the case of virtual reality, it was a great opportunity to do it in a way that was affordable to everyone,” Fehr added.
The new NHLPA video game is part of the NHL’s efforts to build the league’s virtual reality platform for the 2019-20 season, which starts Feb. 16.
Fehr says the NHL will make sure that players have the best experience possible.
“The most important thing is that we have the right content, the right way to do the content,” Fehl said.
Video games are just one way that the NHL hopes to bring virtual reality to the playing surface, which was an area that the union has been struggling with for years.
The NHLPA recently filed a lawsuit to force the NHL to change its current policies regarding VR headsets, which currently allow players and coaches to view the action from a chair.
The union has also been vocal about its desire to make the NHL more accessible, including by opening up the league to more viewers.
“We have to be careful that we don’t put a cloud over the whole thing,” Feh said.
The league is also working on ways to make virtual reality accessible to players who are on the sidelines.
The latest VR-enabled devices, like the Oculus Rift, have had mixed reviews, but they’re already getting a lot more attention than virtual reality headsets.
“It’s going to take some time, but we’re going in the right direction,” Fehm said.