On Thursday the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee announced their proposed rules changes for the 2018-19 season. Of the several rules to be changed, one stands out far more than the others. Beginning next season, the shootout will be dead in college hockey as all conferences in both the men’s and women’s game go to a standardized 5x5 overtime for five minutes. If the game is tied—its a tie. No more shootouts for extra conference points.
This of course was a very good development for the majority of college hockey fans who have always hated the shootout as a way to break ties. It had no real practical application except to earn extra conference points by a skills contest.
Fans of the NCHC will complain that the NCAA will not allow them to use their 3x3 OT format that they had used after the standard 5x5 session to break ties anymore, but the coaches decided that a standard overtime process for all leagues was what was needed.
While differing opinions were expressed, at the end of the day the committee strongly endorsed a single overtime option, cleaning up the book and affirming the belief that hockey is played, for the most part, in a five-on-five format,” said Joe Bertagna, Hockey East Association commissioner and chair of the committee. “While the time might come where college hockey will employ a reduced manpower overtime, the prevailing voices on the committee did not see that time as now.”
The one exception where shoot outs can still occur is in semifinals of regular season tournaments where a victor is needed to determine who advances. Tournaments will have two options, either a shootout after the 5 minute 5x5 OT, or just like in the playoffs full 20-minute 5x5 sudden death overtime periods.
A few other rules changes that will occur next season which will have some noticeable impact are listed below:
- Video review will now be used in situations where ejection of a player is possible. Ever get irate that a player either was or was not thrown out of the game on a bad/missed checking from behind call? Well just like targeting in football, the refs now get to review the play to determine of the player gets to boot from the game or not.
- The slashing rule as been redefined and slashing penalties will be emphasized next season. or at least until about December when everyone forgets about it.
- Schools are now allowed to dress 19 skaters for a game. Previously they could only dress 18 which usually ended up in your usual four forward lines of three players each and your three s-man defensive pairs. Now teams can dress an extra defenseman or forward as they see fit.
- While not to the level of basketball, overtime hockey games may take a bit longer as now each team will get one timeout in overtime—no matter whether you have used yours in regulation or not. You don’t get two in ot if you have not used yours in regulation however.
- With the addition of some reviews and timeouts, the NCAA is trying to limit one kind of reviews to make the game shorter. Beginning next season coaches will now need to use their one review challenge to get a video review for a goal scored where a potential high stick is involved or plays where the puck touches the netting out of play and leads to a goal. Previously referees would automatically review these calls.
While several of these changes won’t be seen in every game (with the exception of the roster size of course) they will have the potential to make large impacts on the ends of games, and will undoubtedly cause consternation at least once in the 2018-19 Minnesota Golden Gophers season.