To be honest it looks like you've basically done what's in the video anyway, but I guess the Web Bluetooth side might be interesting :)
Yes, the range isn't great, especially if it's through silicone - it was only meant to be something you'd stick pretty near to the receiver.
You could attempt to short out the SMD resistor near the IR transmitter - it shouldn't be a big problem when used for short periods of time.
But otherwise yes, a transistor would work well (Puck.js uses both sides of the LED though - it uses the diode bit of the LED to 'gate' the 40kHz carrier, so you might want to be careful).
Chances are that you'll find that you can't get much more current out of the CR2032 battery though, so you might need to move to something that'll supply a bit more power.
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