Calgary Minor Hockey rescheduling overtime indicative of ice situation

The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996 in triple overtime. The Dallas Stars did the same in 1999. More recently, Patrick Kane won the Stanley cup in overtime for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.

Now imagine these overtime periods were postponed, re-scheduled for a later date. Fans would not be happy, and players a lot less happy.

This happened during the playoffs of the Bantam-3 league game this past season. In the case of two games, regulation ended in a tie and there wasn’t enough time to play overtime before the next game was scheduled. The overtimes were therefore re-scheduled and played separately.

Hockey Calgary President Todd Millar said the amount of ice sheets needed to avoid that situation were not available.

“Currently in Calgary, we are short about nine sheets of ice,” Millar says. “We have a 15-minute buffer to play overtime — in many cases we are just out of time.

“With more ice, we would be able to make that hour-long buffer that might be needed, but right now we don’t have that luxury.”

Jesse Merriam is a referee with the Central Zone Referees’ Committee and has 13 years experience. He says that re-scheduling overtime would really affect the flow of the game.

“It takes away from the intensity that has built up over the course of the game,” says Merriam. “You have a new ref that brings a whole new set of standards, when most refs will put the whistle away in overtime.”

Refereeing isn’t the only area that is affected though, says Merriam. He also argues that playing the overtime period right away adds another dynamic to the game.

“You take out the stamina aspect from the game,” Merriam says. “One of the dynamics of the game is which team can outlast the other. That is a huge aspect of overtime and rescheduling it gives players time to rest.”

Steve Monteith, recreational hockey player and NHL hockey fan, notes that any head of steam gained by either team would go out the window in a postponed overtime.

“It just wrecks any natural momentum,” Monteith says. “Anyone who has played a professional sport knows that momentum is a real factor in the game.”

A few overtimes being re-scheduled aren’t the only detrimental effects that a lack of ice brings. Millar notes that some kids don’t even have the opportunity to play.

“Unfortunately, many leagues have a registration cap,” Millar says. “Parents are forced to drive their kids all over the city to find a league to play in. We can only accommodate 3,500 kids.”

However, there is some promising news. Next season will have a little more flexibility than this past one as the City of Calgary approved funding for four new sheets of ice.

ahenn@cjournal.ca