Clarkson and St. Lawrence University hockey games could look a lot different this coming season if proposals announced Friday are enacted July 22 by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversite Panel.
The NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey rules committee has proposed that overtime be changed to a five-minute, three-on-three format and if neither team scores, a three-player shootout could be used to decide winners of both conference games and in-season tournaments.
ECAC Hockey currently plays a five-minute, five-on-five overtime, and if nobody scores the game ends in a tie. Clarkson and SLU have both played in shootouts in the past when at an in-season tournament.
Some conferences, like the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, already use much of the proposed format, but the shootout games are used for conference records only and count as ties in the official NCAA team overall record. Some conferences start with a five-on-five overtime, then move to three-on-three and then to a shootout.
“Our committee’s job is to do what we believe is best for the game,” said Hilary Witt, the women’s head coach at New Hampshire and a former U.S. national team player. “As the game continues to evolve at all levels, we feel it is important for college hockey to evolve with it.”
The committee, of which Witt is a chair, also proposed changes in faceoff rules and postgame handshakes.
It has been recommend that teams be allowed to choose from which faceoff circle the puck would be dropped at the start of a power play or after icing violations. It also has been proposed that officials issue a warning for faceoff violations instead of ejecting the center. A second violation, by the same team on the same faceoff, would result in a two-minute bench minor for delay of game.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a proposal has been made to end the rule that requires teams to shake hands after a game. But the committee wants each conference or school to decide their own protocols rather than have it be dictated by the NCAA.