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THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (NHL®) MODERNIZING THE UPPER DECK NHL DRAFT

National Hockey League (NHL)
Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The National Hockey League (NHL) came to Presidio to modernize the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft™ with a Custom On-Premise and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud capable Solution

Presidio helps the National Hockey League modernize the 2023 upper deck NHL Draft™ with a custom on premise and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud capable solution.

The Challenge

The NHL is the premier ice hockey league in the world. Its annual NHL Draft allows each franchise to systematically secure the rights to available Players who meet Draft eligibility requirements. The NHL Draft is broadcast live to millions of television and internet viewers.

The NHL sought a modernized custom application to facilitate technical elements of the selection process and coordinate information across all the activity, stakeholders and processes involved for the 2023 NHL Draft. For decades, the selection process was run in a closed fashion – each workstation was explicitly assigned to one team and the servers hosting the application were on a private physical network. These servers were then physically transported to the host arena for previous NHL Drafts Given the live nature of the event, the underlying application requires 100% uptime, resiliency, security, and failover capabilities. It must also meet the needs of a wide variety of users, including Commissioner Bettman, individual NHL Club management, scouts, broadcast partners, and the League itself in an administrative role to run the platform.

To ease the logistical burden and provide a more secure and intuitive experience, the NHL worked with Presidio to design and deliver an innovative next-generation application that can run on-prem and in the AWS cloud.

THE SOLUTION

Given the wide variety of end users, it was critical to get the usability design right. Presidio’s UX team got to work understanding each persona and use case, before designing an intuitive UX interface. Presidio understood that ease of use would be key to success when updating the legacy application. NHL and Club users would need to be able to quickly adapt to the new system.

A hybrid onshore/offshore design model allowed Presidio to move quickly to create designs that met the functional and aesthetic requirements. In short order, Presidio UX became an extension of the NHL development team.

The decision was made to develop the new application in a hybrid AWS cloud environment. The solution was implemented with a combination of Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and EKS Anywhere, complemented by Amazon S3, to address the specific needs of a hybrid on-premises and AWS cloud deployment. EKS Anywhere facilitated the creation of Kubernetes clusters within air-gapped on-premises locations, ensuring uniform management and high availability, aligned seamlessly with EKS in the cloud. Amazon S3 provided a dependable backup storage solution Cloud-native development is an innovation the NHL continues to leverage, and enthusiasm was contagious when stakeholders discovered just how simple and flexible Presidio’s cloud applications can be. The environment allowed all information to be centralized, synced, and integrated across the NHL ecosystem at the 2023 NHL Draft.

The application was built to allow each user to access and act upon all relevant information in real-time, with tight security protocols protecting highly confidential selection and trading processes. The new application put a more modern, secure, flexible face on critical existing user functionality, while introducing enhanced user capabilities for the following personas:

Super User – The person responsible for orchestrating the NHL Draft and the resident expert of the application is called the super user. This person has full permissions across the application prior to and during the NHL Draft. The new NHL Draft Application brought in task automation capabilities to save the super user time by eliminating manual tasks around complex processes like trading Draft picks

Podium User – The most visible user of the NHL Draft application, the podium user is on stage during the television broadcast. It is critical that this user is always informed on the latest selections and trades so they can make announcements at the right time. Presidio’s user interface design improves the podium user’s experience by giving them clear information to inform their messaging under the bright lights.

Club User – This user works for an NHL team and attends the NHL Draft to facilitate their team’s Player selections when it is their turn to pick. The new NHL Draft application removes any ambiguity in a pressure-packed situation – it is abundantly clear which player they are looking at when they submit and verify a selection.

Central Scouting User – NHL Central Scouting is responsible for maintaining a database of approximately 11,000 Players across the globe. They whittle this pool of players down to approximately 700 “approved prospects” for the NHL Draft.

Central Registry User –Central Registry manages and maintains all NHL Player contracts. It is the source of truth for the NHL Draft, responsible for tracking the details of all trades throughout the year and the pick schedule. Presidio tightly integrated this database into the NHL Draft Application to help enable the user to streamline, automate and secure the flow of this crucial information.

RESULTS / BENEFITS

The first use of the Presidio-built NHL Draft Application was a rousing success and truly revolutionary for the League. Presidio helped the League to modernize its NHL Draft using simple, secure, and highly flexible cloud-native technology, all delivered using a comprehensive application lifecycle management approach.

The NHL and its IT staff could bank on reliability throughout the 2023 NHL Draft process. Working alongside Presidio, the NHL could be confident that the software and underlying cloud and on-prem infrastructure were going to correctly work the entire time. Presidio will continue to enhance and support the NHL Draft solution in preparation for the 2024 NHL Draft.

The League also plans to continue utilizing Presidio’s platform-driven approach to pull in more data and functionality. The foundation is built to continue to modernize not only the two-day NHL Draft, but other important League business the other 363 days per year.

The highly intuitive application allows users in real-time to:

  • Access Draft-eligible Player information.
  • Submit Player Draft picks.
  • Announce Player selections at the podium.
  • Execute complicated Draft day trades.
  • Automate the sharing of selections with the League’s broadcast partners

The new application enhances the NHL’s ability to:

  • Quickly scale and respond to inputs from multiple sources in real-time.
  • Optimize workflow and efficiency for every NHL Draft Application user.
  • Improve security and confidentiality

With the 2023 NHL Draft in the books and the 2023-24 season around the corner, the Presidio-NHL partnership will soon yield more cloud-native innovations to enrich the game on the ice, NHL business and fan experience

About Presidio

Presidio is a Global Digital Services And Solutions Provider accelerating business transformation by modernizing and securing our clients information technology.

NHL Draft
Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)
Security Protocols