Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
FoxTrax

FoxTrax

Overview
FoxTrax was a specialized ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 puck
Hockey puck
A puck is a disk used in various games serving the same functions as a ball does in ball games. The best-known use of pucks is in ice hockey, a major international sport.- Etymology :The origin of the word "puck" is obscure...

 with internal electronics that allowed its position to be tracked designed for NHL
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 telecasts on the Fox television network
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

. Primarily, it was used to visually highlight the puck on-screen and display a trail when the puck was moving rapidly.

In 1994, Fox won a contract to broadcast NHL games in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. A common complaint among American fans was that the puck was difficult to follow on the ice.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'FoxTrax'
Start a new discussion about 'FoxTrax'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
FoxTrax was a specialized ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 puck
Hockey puck
A puck is a disk used in various games serving the same functions as a ball does in ball games. The best-known use of pucks is in ice hockey, a major international sport.- Etymology :The origin of the word "puck" is obscure...

 with internal electronics that allowed its position to be tracked designed for NHL
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 telecasts on the Fox television network
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

. Primarily, it was used to visually highlight the puck on-screen and display a trail when the puck was moving rapidly.

In 1994, Fox won a contract to broadcast NHL games in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. A common complaint among American fans was that the puck was difficult to follow on the ice. Thus, FoxTrax was created to remedy this problem. The FoxTrax puck was first used during the 1996 NHL All-Star Game. It was last used during the first game of the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals
1998 Stanley Cup Finals
- Detroit Red Wings - 1998 Stanley Cup Champions :- Stanley Cup engravings :* Wally Crossman was oldest person engraved on the Stanley Cup at age 87....

. Fox was scheduled to televise Games 5 and 7, but the series ended in four games. In August 1998, the NHL broadcast rights went to ABC
The NHL on ABC
The NHL on ABC is a former TV show that televised National Hockey League games on the American Broadcasting Company and was produced by ABC's corporate sibling ESPN.-Before the 1992–93 NHL season:...

, and FoxTrax was not brought back for the final season.

Construction and operation


To create the FoxTrax puck, a standard NHL puck was cut in half, and a tiny circuit board
Printed circuit board
A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. It is also referred to as printed wiring board or etched wiring...

 with a battery
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

 was placed inside. The circuit board contained a shock sensor and infrared
Infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

 emitters that were located on the flat surfaces and perimeter of the puck. The enhanced puck was engineered to have the same weight, balance, and rebound as the original puck. The two halves were then bonded with a proprietary epoxy
Epoxy
Epoxy, also known as polyepoxide, is a thermosetting polymer formed from reaction of an epoxide "resin" with polyamine "hardener". Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including fiber-reinforced plastic materials and general purpose adhesives....

 compound and the puck could be used for gameplay. The FoxTrax was developed with assistance from News Corp's Etak
Etak
Etak, Inc. was an independent US-based vendor of automotive navigation system equipment, digital maps, and mapping software. It was founded in 1983....

 navigation subsidiary. While the batteries were designed to last for 30 minutes, and some were successfully used in tests for more than 60 minutes, a typical puck lasted only about 10 minutes on the ice. For that reason 30 FoxTrax pucks were provided for each game. The puck was activated when it was dropped by the ref or struck by a hockey stick
Hockey stick
A hockey stick is a piece of equipment used in field hockey, ice hockey or roller hockey to move the ball or puck.- Field hockey :Field hockey sticks have an end which varies in shape, often depending on the players position...

.

During a Fox NHL broadcast, the puck emitted infrared pulses that were detected by both the 20 pulse detectors and the 10 modified IR cameras that were located in the rafters. The shuttering of the IR cameras was synchronized to the pulses. Each IR camera had an associated 486-66 PC to process the video locally and transmit the coordinates of candidate targets to the "Puck Truck" (a 55' production trailer). The truck contained computers that superimposed computer graphics
Computer graphics
Computer graphics are graphics created using computers and, more generally, the representation and manipulation of image data by a computer with help from specialized software and hardware....

 on the puck coordinates, which could be seen by viewers at home.

The visual result was a bluish glow around the puck. Unfortunately, blue does not show up very well against the white of the rink. Passes were indicated with the bluish glow plus a comet tail indicating its path. When the puck moved faster than 70 miles per hour, a red comet
Comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

 tail was added.

Despite rumors that Fox employees would sometimes go into the stands to retrieve a puck that left the playing area, the pucks were not re-usable. Like any other puck that left the ice, the FoxTrax pucks became souvenirs.

Public response


There was a divided response to the implementation of the FoxTrax puck. Newcomers enjoyed the feature, since they could follow the game more easily. In fact, a Fox Sports
Fox Sports (USA)
Fox Sports is a division of the Fox Broadcasting Company . It was formed in 1994 with Fox's acquisition of broadcast rights to National Football League games...

 survey found that 7 out of 10 respondents liked the new puck. World News Tonight
World News Tonight
World News Tonight may refer to:* ABC World News, the daily evening program of ABC News, formally known as World News Tonight from 1978 to 2006* World News Tonight , a former Sky News program...

did a story on the innovation, in which ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 anchor Peter Jennings
Peter Jennings
Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM was a Canadian American journalist and news anchor. He was the sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer...

, himself a native Canadian, claimed to receive significant favorable feedback from viewers on the technology, but cautioning that although he liked it, that "I don't think Canadians are going to like it as much as Americans are."

However, there was a strong backlash among hockey purists. They argued that the video graphics were a distraction and turned hockey into a video game. Others said that it really shouldn't be that hard to see a black puck on white ice. Perhaps not coincidentally, Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research, in an effort to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States...

 for the NHL on Fox began declining in 1996, falling from a regular-season peak average of 2.1 in 1996 to 1.4 for 1998. The NHL would not recover from the slump until the NHL Winter Classic
NHL Winter Classic
The NHL Winter Classic is an annual event held by the National Hockey League on New Year's Day where regular-season games are played outdoors, in areas hosted by NHL teams. Though largely derived from the Heritage Classic outdoor game held in Edmonton in 2003, the Winter Classic has so far only...

 debuted in 2008.

Despite the puck having passed rigorous tests by the NHL to qualify as an official puck, matching the non-enhanced puck in every material way, some players claimed the enhanced puck had more rebound, and were frustrated that the pricey pucks were not available for practice.

The concept was later parodied in a Molson Canadian
Molson Canadian
Molson Canadian is a brand of 5% abv North American lager brewed by Molson, the Canadian division of Molson Coors Brewing Company. The beer was introduced in 1959.-Awards:Molson Canadian has won several beer industry awards, including:...

 beer advertisement where an American marketer is attempting to sell the idea to a boardroom full of Canadian executives. As he is forcibly ejected from the room, a blue comet trail follows him (i.e. "they passed").

Canadian news satire
News satire
thumb|right|220px|[[The Daily Show with Jon Stewart]] is a news satire program.News satire, also called fake news , is a type of parody presented in a format typical of mainstream journalism, and called a satire because of its content...

 program This Hour Has 22 Minutes
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a weekly Canadian television comedy that airs on CBC Television. Launched in 1993 during Canada's 35th general election, the show focuses on Canadian politics, combining news parody, sketch comedy and satirical editorials...

parodied the concept, promoting a glow that recognized when Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 would appear on screen.

Canadian Folk/Comedy trio The Arrogant Worms
The Arrogant Worms
The Arrogant Worms are a Canadian musical comedy trio that parodies many musical genres. They are well known for their humorous on-stage banter in addition to their music.-History:...

 satirized the glow puck in their song Proud to be Canadian with the line "we don't need no microchip inside our hockey pucks."

Sportswriter Greg Wyshynski named it the second-worst idea in North American sports history, trailing only the infamous Ten Cent Beer Night
Ten Cent Beer Night
Ten Cent Beer Night was a promotion held by Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians during a game against the Texas Rangers at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on June 4, 1974....

 promotion that baseball's Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

 threw in 1974, in his book Glow Pucks and Ten-Cent Beer.

Canadian Folk/Country group Corb Lund Band added a verse to their recording of "The Hockey Song
The Hockey Song
"The Hockey Song" is a song written and originally performed by Canadian folksinger Stompin' Tom Connors.The song first appeared on Connors' 1973 album, Stompin' Tom and the Hockey Song. However, the song did not reach its tremendous popularity until 1997. It was at this time that the song was...

" by Stompin' Tom Connors
Stompin' Tom Connors
Charles Thomas "Stompin' Tom" Connors, OC is one of Canada's most prolific and well-known country and folk singers.He lives in Wellington County, Ontario.- Early life :...

 mocking the scheme.

Other uses by Fox Sports


On NASCAR on Fox
NASCAR on Fox
NASCAR on Fox is the Emmy-winning branding used for Fox Sports's broadcasts of NASCAR races airing on the Fox network since 2001. The production has been in high-definition since 2005.-Background:...

, a graphic called FoxTrax points to a selected driver and displays his name, photo, number, speed, and other information. The information is collected using computerized telemetry and GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 transponders located in the respective cars. A demonstration of the graphic appeared during the 2001 Daytona 500
2001 Daytona 500
The 2001 Daytona 500, the 43rd running of the event, was held on February 18, 2001 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida over 200 laps on the 2.5 mile asphalt tri-oval. Bill Elliott won the pole. The race will be forever remembered for the final lap...

, Fox's first NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 Sprint Cup Series broadcast. The graphic, however, was not used regularly until it was perfected later in the season. It is related to the controversial hockey puck in name only.

Starting in 2010
2010 Major League Baseball season
The 2010 Major League Baseball season began Sunday, April 4, when the Boston Red Sox defeated their long-time rivals, the 2009 World Series champion New York Yankees at Fenway Park, 9–7; the regular season ended on October 3. The 2010 All-Star Game was played on July 13 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim...

, Fox Sports has begun using the FoxTrax name in relation to Major League Baseball. The FoxTrax system is used in an onscreen marker displaying where balls are being pitched in the strike zone.

External links