Apple signs deal with NHL to provide iPads to coaches and referees

(Apple/iPad Pro)A promotional image for the iPad Pro

Technology's reach will further expand in the world of sports, particularly in the National Hockey League (NHL).

According to a report from the Associated Press, tech giant Apple has signed a deal with the NHL to give iPad Pro tablets to the league's coaches and referees. The tie-up will allow the recipients to monitor game footage more closely and review calls and officiating decisions. The deal will also cover all of the arenas of the 16 playoff teams, with each bench receiving three units of the tablet. Mac units will also be provided to accommodate video challenges.

"By the time the player gets off his shift, that content is available within a minute, I guess, from the time it actually took place," said Peter DelGiacco, NHL's executive vice president and chief technology officer. "Today, generally speaking, a lot of that would be done between periods and there's a limited amount of time. ... This kind of gives the coaches and the players real-time access so that they can make adjustments," DelGiacco explained.

A report from the Verge noted that the league began using video monitors on teams' benches this season, which helped coaches contest calls from the referees they deemed questionable. The teams were offered iPads, but only for a limited trial run. "It's equal parts of us believing this truly will help the coaches and the officials and we're going to make decisions faster and more accurately," said David Lehanski, NHL's senior VP of business development.

Coaches have also expressed their approval of the move, noting that it will play a big role in getting the right calls in the postseason. Coach Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals believed that it will help a lot in the playoffs. "The referees, the league wants to get it right, the coaches want to get it right," the Trotz said.

Other sports, however, have shown skepticism in incorporating too much technology, like in the game of soccer where some quarters felt that it will only slow down the game, the report added.