COVID-19 has not only sent a shock wave through health, society, and the global economy; it has wreaked havoc on the sports we love. The coronavirus doesn’t care when sports come back, but fans sure do. Shutdowns have affected everyone in many ways — some harder than others.
But the sheer desperation for sports to return, is weighing on all. Sports unite across age, race, gender, and economic lines. They provide hope, emotional release, and at times a much needed escape. Fortunately, the wait appears to be over.
The 2020 Stanley Cup® Qualifiers are scheduled to start on August 1, after a two-week training camp and a round of exhibition games. The resumption of training camp will help players to prepare their bodies to excel during the rigors of the fastest game on ice, as each team looks to make a deep run toward the Stanley Cup. Given this unsettling year of turmoil and much more time spent at home, away from training facilities, it will be interesting to see which players come back stronger and faster.
#HockeyAtHome went viral during the pause, with short videos from players to showcase how they have been uniquely training in new ways. This presented an exciting opportunity to continue sharing the SAP-NHL Coaching Insights mobile app for iPad, which is changing the way that coaches make decisions during games. Aside from in-game analytics that coaches can access, fans alike can customize their own sets of metrics on NHL.com/stats.
SAP has teamed up with a few superstars because the best never stop working on their game — and we did not want to stop tracking their performances either.
- Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars™ leader in face-off win percentage (58.2): Kept his concentration and quickness by competing against his dogs! He first held a preliminary tournament with each of his three pups battling each other, at the drop of a dog treat. Gerry beat both of his four-legged siblings, scored all the Scooby snacks and won the honor of battling his dad and NHL All-Star. It was a ferocious battle, but Tyler won two out of three. Though Gerry might argue that he was full by then.
- Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins® assist leader (59): Teamed up with his son to keep his precision passing skills on point. What the video does not show is that his son checked him down the hill to keep dad’s head on a swivel too.
- Matthew Tkachuk, power forward for the Calgary Flames® (122 hits): Shared some quarantine time with his brother Brady, also a known thumper for the Ottawa Senators, as they released some pent-up aggression playing basketball against each other.
The NHL’s Return to Play Plan, which includes the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Stanley Cup Playoffs, will take place in two hub cities, Edmonton (Rogers Place) and Toronto (Scotiabank Arena). Both arenas are technologically equipped to support the coaching app and help ensure that every data point is decisively processed through SAP Cloud Platform directly to iPads.
Ultimately, it is difficult to predict the champion, as each team will need to grind its way to the Stanley Cup. But execution will become clear, because the stats will never stop.
Follow SAP Sports & Entertainment online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Ryan Somers is senior director of Global Sponsorships at SAP.