While hockey purists frown at it, most fans seem to love the frenetic three-on-three overtime period the NHL implemented in 2015.
A new eight-team league — 3ICE — is trying to capitalize on it.
Provided the coronavirus pandemic is under control, the three-on-three league is scheduled to debut next summer in North America. The eight teams will travel to bracket-style tournaments in a different city each week. The sites have yet to be determined.
“We’re anticipating that we’re going to be able to have a lot of exciting hockey — even more than the NHL’s overtime format, because we’re going to go for a lot of speed and skill throughout, and we’re going to look at different rules that enable that to happen more frequently in our game,” Craig Patrick, the league’s commissioner and assistant coach on the 1980 U.S. men’s Olympic team, told USA Today.
E.J. Johnston, the league’s founder and CEO, said the players will have “NHL pedigree” and that their creativity is “what we’re looking for.”
Each team will have seven players — six skaters and a goalie — in a nine-week season. Games will have two eight-minute halves with a running clock. Instead of penalties, penalty shots will be taken.
Each stop will have a seven-game tourney, and each team is guaranteed at least one game per weekend. Johnston said CBS Sports and Canada’s TSN will broadcast the games.
Two of the coaches have ties to the Flyers: former star John LeClair, and former assistant coach Joe Mullen, a Hockey Hall of Fame player.
The other coaches include six-time Stanley Cup champion Bryan Trottier; four-time champions Grant Fuhr and Larry Murphy; and four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero, the only woman behind one of the benches.
Three-time Stanley Cup champ Guy Carbonneau and Ed Johnston (E.J.'s father) round out the coaching field. Johnston spent 25 years with the Penguins, including as head coach and general manager.
The coaches have combined for 28 Stanley Cups championships and 29 All-Star Game appearances. Six of the eight coaches are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.