For the first time that I can remember we may be introduced to a true competitor to the National Hockey League in North America.
According to a report from Andrew Zuber of Yahoo Sports, a new league known simply as 3ICE is looking to bring the 3 on 3 format back to prominence. Effectively 3ICE is looking to export the National Hockey League's current overtime format and create a league of their own where that will be the exclusive style of play. Now that may not sound like an organization looking to compete with the league behind a more traditional version of their sport, but comments made by 3ICE commissioner Craig Patrick, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, certainly seem to have come off as a direct barb at the NHL.
"No penalties, only penalty shots. No long intermissions or stoppage in play for video reviews. Just pure excitement," 3ICE commissioner Patrick said in the statement as per Yahoo.
The games will not be played over 3 periods of action but instead will consist of two halves of play, much in the way the National Football League currently divides its games ( albeit in this case they have 4 separate quarters as well.) The halves will run for just 8 minutes, which will make the games significantly shorter but given the 3 on 3 format that is probably a good thing if we don't want players dropping dead from exhaustion.
Unfortunately if all this sounds very exciting to you, I know I will definitely be tuning in even if only for the sake of curiosity, you will have to wait a little while before you get to see some 3ICE games. The league intends to launch in June of 2021 which is still quite a while away, but they already have some very strong partners associated with their brand so it sounds like they are doing things the right way. 3ICE has reportedly secured deals with major partners like TSN and RDS in Canada as well as CBS Sports and Bell Media, all of which will guarantee a television audience for the league once it does finally launch its product.