Hockey World Blog

NCAA Closer to Implementing 4-on-4 Overtime

ncaaEarlier this week, the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee has recommended the use of 4-on-4 overtime starting this fall.

The committee also gave the approval to use use of 3-on-3 overtime once the five-minute 4-on-4 is over, followed by a shootout. The changes still need final approval from the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel and the changes only affect regular-season games. That teleconference is scheduled to take place July 20 after they receive feedback and comments from the teams.

It’ll be up to the individual conferences to choose whether to use the new format or not and it will not change the criteria to determine the NCAA tournament field. The postseason format will not change, which is 5-on-5 overtimes with 20-minute sudden death periods.

The NCHC had already been using the 3-on-3/shootout format in overtime in conference games.

“In our review of the game, it is clear that goal scoring is continuing to trend down,” said committee chair and Michigan State coach Tom Anastos in a statement via the NCAA. “After a thorough discussion of the overtime process, and seeing the success experienced by the National Hockey League and others using four-on-four, we believe this change will be a positive step for NCAA hockey. Our committee is charged with finding a balance in making changes that we believe will have a positive impact on the game, yet respect the traditions of the sport. We feel the changes we have adopted meet those objectives and will enhance our brand of hockey.”

Other changes the committee made include:

  • The use of a coach’s challenge that will allow for the review of offsides, similar to the NHL. This will be required for any offsides review, except for the last two minute of the game and in overtime. After that time the officials may request the video review themselves. A coach’s challenge will not be needed in the postseason, as all aspects of video replay criteria will be utilized.
  • Officials will be required to wear a helmet at all times on the ice, except for the national anthem. This comes following the death of referee Butch Mousseau, who hit his head on the ice prior to a WCHA tournament game this spring.


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