One month after the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee voted to abolish the use of shootouts and 3-on-3 to decide games, the Committee has modified its proposal and will continue to allow the practice.
The original decision came out of a stated goal of creating uniformity of overtime formats across college hockey. In recent years, three leagues have used shootouts and, in some cases, 3-on-3 to decide games after the five-minute overtime period was over. Those results counted towards league standings, but not for the purposes of official NCAA records or NCAA tournament selection criteria.
The decision left some wondering — including the conferences that had been using it, the WCHA, NCHC and Big Ten — what was wrong with allowing conferences to make up their own minds how to decide games once the official OT was over.
The new rule would have mandated all regular-season games to end once the 5-on-5, five-minute OT was over. In-season tournaments could elect to go to 20-minute overtimes from there, or shootouts, to decide advancement, but those records wouldn’t count for NCAA purposes.
Under the modified plan, conferences can go back to what they have been doing — either a 3-on-3 followed by shootout, or just the shootout.
“The process has always allowed for reconsideration,” said committee chair Joe Bertagna and Hockey East commissioner. “The membership was given the chance to comment after our initial work was made public. The committee had the benefit of time to consider all ramifications of its work. In short, the system worked.”
Bertagna originally noted last month that he personally was not against the status quo, but that the Rules Committee — compromised of representatives from men’s and women’s hockey in D-I and D-III — overwhelmingly wanted to standardize OT.
One change that will remain — inter-conference games now must end after the 5-on-5 OT.
In addition, the Committee also modified its stance on in-season tournaments, essentially going back to the way it was — tournaments can elect to go straight to a 20-minute sudden death OT format to decide advancement or a champion.