In an age where the competition is becoming more even than ever, deciding the Olympics ice hockey champion in a shootout is a cop out
The NHL listened to its fans and players back in 2005 when everyone was downright sick of ties. The latter stages of a hockey game extremely dull and the product were being tarnished. So the decision makers in power made the change, adding the shootout. They borrowed this idea from Olympics ice hockey.
Today, innovations to the new Overtime and Shootout rules have created an exciting product that is now featured in the All-Star game. Three-on-three hockey has worked in the NHL and now the IIHF needs to follow suit.
The narrative of a shootout awarding a championship reared its ugly head when the United States beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout to capture Gold. The argument is getting tiresome to say the least.
It’s a sound argument. Canada and the United States pernenially play exciting and memorable hockey at all levels.
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Aside from the goaltenders, I guarantee you none of those players in that room dreamed of scoring the shootout-winning goal to win the Gold Medal or their respective championship. They dreamed of an Overtime winner similar to Sidney Crosby ‘s back in the Vancouver Olympics of 2010. Certainly, none of their players would want such an outstanding, evenly matched game to be determined by a skills competition.
Could you imagine if that game went into a shootout? The discussion would be even worse.
It’s heartbreaking to watch a tournament, or an entire season for that matter, come down to a one-on-one skills competition. The MLS proved that when the Seattle Sounders defeated TFC in the 2016 MLS Cup without registering a shot on goal.
What’s even worse is that the people in power are seemingly complacent with the current format. The World Junior Hockey Championship was decided in a shootout in 2017 and it looked like it was heading that way again this year.
I understand the fundamental structure of it all. The IIHF and most international sports bodies maintain the idea that changes at the top have to resonate throughout each level regardless of age and skill level.
The tournaments run by the IIHF are supposed to be the best in the world. Right now, they are losing their appeal. Give the fans what they want and let the players play. Championship games deserve to be determined in a more fair manner than a shootout.