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USHL Announces Overtime Rules Changes

06/23/2015, 11:45am CDT

The USHL announced that beginning in 2015-16 season, overtime will now consist of a 7-minute period, with 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 play.

The United States Hockey League Board of Governors concluded its 2015 Annual Meeting, held in Colorado Springs, CO last week in conjunction with the USA Hockey Summer Meetings.

Chaired by USHL Commissioner and President Bob Fallen, the two days of meetings saw the unanimous approval of the following overtime rules changes to be implemented beginning in 2015-16:

  • During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length.
  • Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
  • If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

“Working with the owners and general managers who make up the USHL Competition Committee, we proposed the new overtime rules because it is a more competitive format to decide the outcome of games,” said Adam Micheletti, Senior Director of Hockey Operations for the United States Hockey League. “The NHL has utilized our league as a testing ground for the implementation of rule changes in the past, and I suspect they’ll be keeping a close eye on how this format performs in the USHL.”

The USHL previously tested the hybrid overtime period during the 2013 and 2014 preseasons with 3-on-3 overtime play. Over the past five seasons, 39% of games were decided during 4-on-4 overtime in the USHL. Over the past two pre-seasons, 71% ended in a 3-on-3 overtime.

The USHL Competition Committee unanimously approved the proposed rules changes after consideration of multiple options for submission prior to the 2015 Annual Meeting.

“We have experimented with 3-on-3 over the past two pre-seasons, and after analyzing our results and the results from the AHL, we felt confident that the time was right to make the change,” added Micheletti.

Playoff overtime rules will remain continuous 20-minute periods until the first team scores.

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