The International Ice Hockey Federation has heard the critics and are going to try something different to decide a gold medal game that is tied after three periods.
Canadians have painfully watched Sweden win gold at the Olympics in a shootout and recently the U.S. beat Canada in the World Juniors in a shootout and yes, they’ve also benefitted by the skills competition deciding the gold medal.
In the 2019 World Hockey Championships, the IIHF says if the game is tied, they’ll do away with the shootout and go to a sudden death three-on-three period or periods in the unlikely event it goes beyond 20 minutes.
While they aren’t changing anything for the Juniors this year, they’re doing something after so many years – in fact decades – of fans, players and coaches complaining about a shootout deciding a gold medal.
Is three-on-three the perfect way to do it? No. But it’s far better than leaving it up to a one-on-one competition deciding a team event.
Hopefully the rule expands to all tournaments in the years ahead.