• Emilieann Glassie

3ICE: New Overtime Style Hockey League, All the Time, Coming This Summer

Logo for the new ice hockey league, 3ICE.

This summer, 3ICE introduces “the best part of hockey” in its inaugural 3-on-3 hockey league. When the NHL introduced a new 3-on-3 overtime format in 2015-16 to replace 4-on-4 overtime, it birthed a modernized approach to hockey. Players had more time, more space, and more opportunities for exciting and unique plays. This excitement led E.J. Johnston, son of Ed Johnston, a former NHL goaltender, coach, and General Manager, to form 3ICE, an overtime-only style of play for the entire game: two 8-minute halves followed by an overtime shootout.

The league’s six teams each consist of only six skaters and one goalie lead by All-Star, Stanley Cup Champion, and Hall of Fame coaches. 3ICE games are played in bracket-style tournaments, touring 9 cities across the USA and Canada this summer. All six teams will play in each tournament with a championship deciding the winner that day. In total, the event takes three hours.

Game Play and Rules

Taking inspiration from the NHL, 3ICE solely utilizes the regular season overtime and shootout format. Each team will have three skaters on the ice at any given time and a goaltender. That is right, no powerplays. Rather than powerplays, teams are awarded a penalty shot with the shooter chosen by the coach. Instead of three 20-minute periods with regular timeouts and stoppage of play, 3ICE operates in two 8-minute halves with a running clock that only stops for injuries or penalties. That also means if a puck is shot into the netting above the glass and bounces back onto the ice, the game continues.

If teams are tied at the end of regulation, considering they are already in an overtime format, the game moves to a shootout. The one-round shootouts continue until one team wins; it could be in the first round or the 17th round, however long it takes.

Each tour-stop location consists of six games in three rounds, bracket-style. In the first round, all six teams compete with the winning teams and top-scoring team advancing to the semi-finals. Those four teams compete, and the winners move on to the championship game of that tournament. The tournament is completed in three hours or less, the average time it takes one hockey game going into overtime.

The regular season has eight tour-stop locations beginning in mid-June and concludes with a playoff and championship tournament for the ninth location mid-August in Las Vegas, NV.

Coaches and Players

Teams are led by well-experienced veterans of the game from multi-Stanley Cup Champions to first-ballot Hall of Famers. These six coaches have a dynamic understand of the game being players, coaches, analysts, and General Managers. The coaches are Guy Carbonneau, Grant Fuhr, John LeClair, Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, and Bryan Trottier.

The league is comprised of 42 players, two of whom have connections to the Johnstown area. Center Chris Mueller on Team Murphy played three games with the Johnstown Chiefs during the 2008-09 season, and Alex Kile on Team LeClair is the older brother of former Tomahawks’ forward Joey Kile who played three seasons in Johnstown.

Chris Mueller played three games for the Johnstown Chiefs during the 2008-09 season.

Good things come in threes as Mueller tallied three goals and three assists in just three games with the Chiefs. Mueller progressed to play five seasons in the NHL and 13 more seasons in the AHL wherein he won two Calder Cups with the 2013-14 Texas Stars and 2017-18 Toronto Marlies. During the Marlies’ Cup run, Mueller averaged nearly a point per game with 16 points in 20 games.

While Joey Kile took the ice in Johnstown, Alex earned starts in the AHL and ECHL for six seasons, his latest stint with the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Over the course of his ECHL career, Kile totaled 168 points in 205 games with a positive plus/minus to end each season. Kile also recorded 10 points in 13 ECHL playoff games across three seasons.

Alex Kile, the older brother of Johnstown Tomahawks Alumni, Joey Kile.

With 3ICE’s uniquely fast and unrelenting pace, players must adapt and innovate like never before leaving the door wide open for standout players and exhilarating games.

Where to Watch

The league’s inaugural season can be watched in-person or on television/streaming. 3ICE has partnered with CBS, CBS Sports, ESPN, RDS, and TSN to bring the action to viewers anywhere. Their TV broadcast crew has color commentator Bob Errey and play-by-play commentator Steve Mears, both from the Pittsburg Penguins broadcast team, and the Seattle Kraken’s Nick Gismondi for behind-the-scenes and on-the-bench reporting.

3ICE tournament location schedule, in order, is Las Vegas; Denver; Grand Rapids; Hershey; London, ON; Pittsburg; Quebec City, QC; and Nashville with the championship in Las Vegas. For tickets and schedule details, visit https://www.3ice.com/tickets.

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