Online viewers will have personal control over a near-ice-level perspective as the Hockey Night in Canada All Access Cam makes its debut in Friday's telecast of the Montreal Canadiens' centennial anniversary game against the Boston Bruins.
The new camera will give viewers logging on to CBCSports.ca total freedom to choose where they focus their attention during the pre-game festivities and after the puck drops at the Bell Centre.
"It's a cool innovation. We're always trying to bring the event to the viewer," said Hockey Night in Canada executive producer Sherali Najak.
Developed by Immersive Media in Calgary and sponsored by Chevrolet, the circular camera, smaller than a soccer ball, has 11 lenses working simultaneously. The different views are pieced together by computer software, giving online users a real-time 360-degree view of the action.
"You can watch the play at your discretion," Najak said. "It's just something that is so user-generated, and the innovation behind it is really neat. [Fans] can use it on their own terms."
Hockey Night in Canada and CBCSports.ca plan to use the All Access Cam during various games throughout the season, including the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day and the 2010 NHL playoffs.
More Hockey Night Online
Also, the web feature, Hockey Night Online Presented by Chevrolet, will now be presented six days a week.
"The gap between broadcast and the web is getting a lot smaller, and what we've tried to do is lead the charge in bringing our content online," Najak said.
The show, hosted by various Hockey Night in Canada personalities such as Jeff Marek, Scott Morrison, and Tim Wharnsby, will now go live at 1 p.m. ET from Monday to Saturday — a "big step in the right direction for viewers of Hockey Night in Canada to be able to get our content when they want it online," Najak said.