PuckNet: Estimating hockey puck location from broadcast video

by   Kanav Vats, et al.

Puck location in ice hockey is essential for hockey analysts for determining the location of play and analyzing game events. However, because of the difficulty involved in obtaining accurate annotations due to the extremely low visibility and commonly occurring occlusions of the puck, the problem is very challenging. The problem becomes even more challenging in broadcast videos with changing camera angles. We introduce a novel methodology for determining puck location from approximate puck location annotations in broadcast video. Our method uniquely leverages the existing puck location information that is publicly available in existing hockey event data and uses the corresponding one-second broadcast video clips as input to the network. The rationale behind using video as input instead of static images is that with video, the temporal information can be utilized to handle puck occlusions. The network outputs a heatmap representing the probability of the puck location using a 3D CNN based architecture. The network is able to regress the puck location from broadcast hockey video clips with varying camera angles. Experimental results demonstrate the capability of the method, achieving 47.07 network is also able to estimate the puck location in defensive/offensive zones with an accuracy of greater than 80


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