The American Hockey League’s Board of Govenors annual meeting was conducted this week in Hilton Head Island S.C. and finished up earlier today.
At the conclusion of the week long meetings the approval of several rule changes was announced by the board. One of the rules affected major penalties while the second dictated that players would have to leave the ice or re-strap their helmets if lost during play. The final rule change was to the overtime format, which depending on how it plays out throughout next season, could be a catalyst to a reformatting of the NHL’s current overtime format.
From the official release from the AHL.
Rule 85 (“Overtime”)
- During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.
- Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.
- Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
- If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
Since the shootout was instated there have been plenty who have been apposed to it. The idea of a game being decided by a “skills competition” bugged many and had many contemplating ways to fix overtime and avoid the shootout. It looks as if the AHL may have taken the first step in reworking overtime in order to get a goal before the shootout is needed.
More time for a goal is always a good thing, so the change from five to seven minutes is already a step in the right direction. The big change will be the jump to 3-on-3 hockey after three minutes of play. This is sure to pick up the pace of the game and put the outcome of the game in some of the star players’ hands.
You can bet the NHL will be keeping an eye on how the new format plays out for the AHL. If it proves to be a good thing and the NHL likes the results you can bet there will be something very similar instated in the big league in the near future.