LA Kings Invest in VR Hockey Trainer

by Guy Frum

The deeper we get into the 21st century, the more and more we’re finding technology integrating into every part of their culture, business, social, entertainment, and now sports. In the past few years, as sports franchises have turned to things like data analytics to dictate how they coach their players and build their rosters, virtual reality has started to make its way into the mix.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have begun using virtual reality (VR) as a hitting tool for their players to see mistakes in their swings, and an Australian skeleton racer used VR simulators in order to prepare for the last Winter Olympics.

In cold-weather countries around the world, hockey is all the rage every season, and now a company from the Czech Republic known as Sense Arena is looking to corner the market on a VR hockey trainer that will have anyone in the world mastering the art of the slap shot. The company is working directly with major sports organizations to give its players an effective, simple VR hockey training program that is immersive and effective.
It combines VR goggles and haptic feedback technology to make anyone from a rank amateur to a seasoned pro feel like they are on the rink and having the time of their life. The VR experience mixes realistic drills and challenges that work on a person’s fast-twitch muscle and praises their abilities to “read and react.”

The company hit it big time recently when it made partners with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as well as the sports company AEG. The VR platform will be used by members of the Kings as well as their junior academy players at the LA Kings Training Center in El Segundo, California.
“We are excited to welcome a category leader like Sense Arena into the LA Kings family,” said Kelly Cheeseman, chief operating officer, AEG Sports. “Whether it’s on or off the ice, we are always looking for innovative new ways to enhance our players’ training, development, and rehabilitation and this partnership helps us to follow through on this important commitment in the best way possible. Being able to leverage their cutting-edge technology has been a game-changer when it comes to giving our players a winning competitive edge.”

It’s not just standing there wearing a pair of goggles and pretending to play hockey, however. There’s a 3D printed mount for the program’s Touch controllers which allows any player to use their atual hockey stick in the VR application. The mounts also provide