The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that its Board of Governors has approved a change to the overtime and shootout format for the 2015-16 season. The 2015-16 NAHL regular season begins on Friday, September 11th.
The change in overtime for the 2015-16 season will see the NAHL go to a 3-on-3 sudden-death format for a five-minute period in regular-season games tied at the end of regulation. Previously, the NAHL played 4-on-4 in overtime. Regular-season games tied at the end of overtime will continue to be decided by a shootout. The shootout during the 2015-16 season will feature a three-man format. Previously, the NAHL had used a five-man shootout system.
“The consensus among the Board of Governors was that a 3-on-3 overtime significantly increases the chances of a game-winning goal scored during the course of regular competition,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “While the shootout is exciting and an extended way to determine the outcome of a regular season game, statistics show that moving to a 3-on-3 overtime potentially increases the number of overtime goals 30-40%. I think the fans will really enjoy it because the ice will open up and the players and goalies skill will be on full display.”
These are the same rules in place as adopted by the National Hockey League (NHL) earlier this summer. The 3-on-3 overtime is designed to create more space on the ice, allowing for more goals to be scored and more games ending in overtime rather than the shootout.
Last season, 144 of the 720 NAHL regular season games (20%) were decided in either overtime of a shootout. Of those 144 games decided in overtime or a shootout, 93 of the games ended in a shootout (64.5%), while 51 of the games ended in overtime (35.5%).