The future is a scary place if you're a born cynic, or a TomorrowLand of hopes and dreams if you're one of those naïve types.
It's also rather unpredictable, which is why it's always a good time when someone attempts to predict it; we're still holding out optimism for the eventual invention of The Jetsons' Food-a-Rac-a-Cycle, for example. Three words: Meat Loaf Pills.
Frank Albin blogs for the Seagate Broadcaster Blog on the San Jose Sharks' Web site. We recently came across a post that featured a video he produced back in 1990 while covering the Detroit Red Wings: a look at what hockey will look like in the Year 2050. (Google Video doesn't embed well here, so Frank was kind enough to send over footage for the Yahoo! player. Thanks again, sir.)
As you'll see, it's pretty damn ingenious, and may have actually predicted the Reebok EDGE Uniform System nearly 15 years before its time. There's also a prediction that the NHL will switch to synthetic ice, something already being tweaked by Japanese inventors.
Some of the material remains quite outlandish: Non-polluting jet skates you control with your toes? Uniforms that inflate to cushion hits? Something called the Thomas Hearns Arena in Detroit?
But if hockey in 2050 is the hockey of laser sticks, force-fields instead of Plexiglas and coaches who manage a game from a Bat Cave-like control center ... well, cryogenically freeze us now, because that's a world we want to live in. Minus the apocalyptic effects of global warming and NHL expansion to Egypt, of course.
Does anyone else think the rotating upper deck is, perhaps, the greatest arena innovation since nachos?