The BCHL is changing its overtime format to try and minimize shootouts.
Starting with the 2023-24 season the league will be playing 10 minutes of three-on-three OT followed by a shootout instead of five minutes followed by a shootout. This is the major on-ice move coming out of the junior A league’s annual general meeting, which was held via Zoom May 1, followed by an in-person gathering May 25 in Victoria.
Under the previous format, games that went to OT ended up in a shootout 41.5 per cent of the time. Too often in the view of Chilliwack Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney.
“I don’t like any games (ending) on a shootout, but that’s my personal thoughts,” he said.
The idea of three-on-three was to create more space and more scoring chances, but coaches have adopted a cautious approach, instructing players to hold back offensively until the other team makes a mistake. It’s not quite the end-to-end spectacle that was envisioned, but it can be a treat to watch.
“If there’s a breakdown it usually opens up back and forth, with odd-man rushes and a lot of chances,” Maloney said. “But no matter what there’s still more chances in overtime than during five-on-five.”
- Also coming out of the AGM, news that Abbotsford’s Nathan Lieuwen has been named the BCHL’s Executive of the Year.
The 31-year-old is owner and president of the Cranbrook Bucks, who just completed their third BCHL season, finishing second in the Interior conference. After going 3-16-1 in the pod season in 2020-21, Cranbrook placed fifth in the conference in 2021-22 and then jumped up 13 points in the standings in 2022-23. They were upset by the seventh-seeded Wenatchee Wild in the first round of the BCHL playoffs.
The club posted the third-highest average attendance in the BCHL through the regular season.
The former National Hockey League goaltender also began laying the groundwork for a new hockey academy which is set to launch in Cranbrook for the 2023-24 season.