GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The board of directors for the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference has unanimously approved the use of shootouts to break ties in conference games.
The NHL-style shootouts involving three players from each team will be used if a game is still tied after the standard five-minute, sudden-death overtime period. The games will officially be recorded as ties for the record books and for NCAA tournament selection purposes, but the league will give an extra point in the NCHC standings to a team that wins a shootout.
"The conference office and our member institutions are committed to engaging our fans in ways that provide them excitement in our home venues," NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said in a statement. "The use of a shootout at the conclusion of our standard overtime to determine an extra point within conference standings will make for an exciting race to determine the NCHC regular season champion."
Non-conference games held in NCHC venues also will feature a shootout with mutual agreement from the visiting schools.
The NCHC includes Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan. It begins its inaugural season in October.
The only league in men's college hockey that has used shootouts was the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, which disbanded after last season, according to the Grand Forks Herald. Women's teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association have been using shootouts since 2008.
North Dakota men's coach Dave Hakstol said he thinks adding shootouts is the right move.
"Honestly, I think as a hockey traditionalist, it's not the way you want to decide a game," he said. "But I think it's the right decision. I think we owe it to our fans to provide the excitement that shootouts will bring.
"I was very much a skeptic when the NHL went to it," Hakstol added. "But I've seen some markets with the deepest traditions of hockey and their fans are standing during the shootout. So, I think the entertainment value is something we owe to the fans of college hockey."