The NHL Hub Arenas Look Awesome

nhl arena hub city
Image via Twitter

When the NHL first release a rendering of what they had planned for their Hub city arenas in Toronto and Edmonton, they had the hockey world’s curiosity. Now they have our attention:

This shot form the inside of Scotiabank Arena -where Kawhi Leonard once broke the hearts of Sixers fans everywhere- addresses so many concerns people had for how the NHL would look to present their product. My biggest fear for the NHL was how they would address the thousands of empty seats in each arena.

European soccer leagues provided a few possibilities over the past few months, ranging from leaving the seats visible, to massive tarps, to utilizing a combination of virtual boards and virtual crowds over the empty rows. The NHL has opted to tarp the seats with clean, aesthetically-pleasing graphics, which will look excellent from top-down angles, while installing a number of large screens at the top of the lower bowl in each arena.

While the NBA has done a great job creating more of a controlled, soundstage vibe that Kyle lauded last week, the NHL has the unenviable task of making an empty arena feel anything but. To do so, they’re taking a page out of the MLS playbook, adding unique cameras angles and additional microphones to capture every inch of the action:

As I wrote last week, the league is planning on using a five-second delay to monitor language being used on-ice and prevent any profanity from slipping through the cracks and onto national TV.

The most interesting part of a 49-minute video the league released last week was the use of the EA Sports sound library to add supplemental crowd noise. Will every telecast use virtual crowd noise? Just the nationally-televised games? That remains to be seen.

The other positive development on the audio side is that every team’s goal horn and goal-scoring song has been added to an audio library in Toronto and Edmonton. How that will affect home-ice advantage also remains to be seen, but the league has also assured fans that each game will have a distinctly unique feel, rather than a generic, cookie-cutter presentation.

Get excited. Hockey is back.

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