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With the flip of a toggle switch, an exec in charge can communicate directly with the video replay judge at any of the NHL's 30 arenas. When the head referee dons his headset at the penalty box, he's instantly patched in and can join the conversation, too. Prior to each game, the trio test their devices.

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As I explain how the NHL's system works, you'll see why.

In early December, a day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the league was looking at potentially moving to a centralized video review operation, QMI Agency broke the news that Jay Reid of the NFL's officiating department had personally checked out the NHL's Situation Room on Nov. 30.

Flanking it on each side are six 46 inch, high def screens arranged three across, two deep. Any of those 12 screens can be quartered as well.

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The NHL's own in net and above net cameras at each arena can also be displayed. More on those later.

The NHL kindly allowed me to do so during the last week of the 2013 14 regular season. I visited Wednesday, April 9, an average weeknight with five games on the docket. I picked the brains of the two top NHL executives in charge on this evening executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell and senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy.

a central video review operation when owners at the league's annual meeting passed a new rule allowing members of the NFL officiating department at the league's New York City headquarters to consult live with referees as they review plays under the hood.


Two other NHL executives involved in the direction and evolution of the operation include Stephen Walkom, senior vice president and director of officiating, and Kay Whitmore, director of hockey operations and goaltender equipment.

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The Situation Room is not big: 20 by 40 feet. One of the walls running length wise features a massive visual assault: high definition TV screens, butted and stacked, stretching 30 feet wide and nearly four feet deep. Man Cave heaven.

And we mean world. In addition to the NFL, Major League Baseball and NBA, officials from even an Aussie rugby league flew halfway around the globe to check it out.

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This is the raised platform bisecting the room lengthwise, where those running that night's operation work. They sit at a long stretching computer desk as they look up at the wall of TVs. The communication console on the desk is an arm's reach away.

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In late March, the NFL took its first step toward Nike Air More Uptempo Preschool

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asked the NHL if I could spend a night in its Nike Uptempo Situation Room to learn how the operation Nike Air Max Uptempo 97 Uk

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The NHL calls it the Situation Room. Any sports fan with a pulse would call it the Ultimate Man Cave.

Conversely, on nights with fewer games, the inside four of the six 46 inch screens on either side can serve as a single larger screen, displaying one game feed.

Atop the entire length of the TV wall is a horizontal, visual representation of the NHL standings, featuring team logos and digital point totals for teams still alive in the playoff hunt. That was the only thing that seemed out of place, or unnecessary, because obviously it does not matter to the folks in this room which team sits where in the standings, nor how much or little any one game matters.


I spent an evening there in early April. Like all visitors, I came away mightily impressed by 1) the conception and execution of the operation, 2) its real time technology, and 3) the speed of decision making enabled by 1) and 2).

The centre projector screen alone measures nearly seven feet wide. It can be quartered to show four different video feeds, and each of those can be quartered again. So up to 16 different sources on this screen alone.

A look inside the NHL's replay war room

Those on the Bridge know which arena is calling by the flashing light on the console above that arena's toggle switch.

For these reasons, this system is the envy and, indeed, the model of the pro sports world.

The conclusion I reached is that much of the NHL's centralized video replay system can, and should, migrate to the NFL. As soon as possible.

Usually it's "Murph" who's in charge in the Situation Room six days a week during the season. Only two other men hold the same power as Murph to render verdicts on NHL video reviews over the entire six month, 1,230 game regular season: Kris King, vice president of hockey operations, and Rod Pasma, senior director of hockey operations.

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works, and to see how much of it might extrapolate to the NFL.

Thus, when either side initiates a communication, a red strobe flashes. In the Situation Room, multiple overhead strobes flash. There's no mistaking it.

The league's centralized video replay room, located on the 10th floor of the office tower attached to the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto, would be one hell of a place to hold a Super Bowl party. Or any TV watching party.

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