Monday, August 18, 2008

A Petition Regarding Shootouts

I have created the online petition (linked below) in an effort to communicate the idea that bringing the shootout into Division I hockey is opposed by a substantial number of college hockey fans. I will run this petition until the end of the regular season. At that time I will forward the results to the 58 Athletic Directors. I hope you will sign it. Your email address will not be displayed to other signers at any time.

The petition states:
We the undersigned believe that the introduction of shootouts as a method to determine the winners of NCAA Division I hockey games is an affront to the integrity of the sport.

We say:
A 65 minute sporting contest which ends in a tie is a valid result. It means that neither team deserved to win and neither team deserved to lose. Introducing a measure which utilizes a minor (albeit exciting) aspect of the competition directly threatens the integrity of the game we love. A one-on-one contest between a shooter and a goaltender is an event in the normal play of a game which occurs infrequently enough to make it wholly unrepresentative of the game. Using such an infrequent event as a representation of the whole contest is pure folly.

We must therefore decry its inclusion in our game.

We ask:
That those entrusted to nurture our favorite sport through their administration give exceptional consideration (in light of our beliefs) when deciding the future of this potential change to the game we love.

Sign The Petition

As a fan I think this is the only reasonable chance to effect the process that "officially" starts with the use of shootouts by the CCHA this season to calculate the standings. I personally believe that the inclusion of shootouts is all but inevitable however, I think the effort to be heard is incumbent upon we the fans. The people making the decisions cannot fail to least consider the issue while knowing our concerns. And to know our concerns we must communicate it. I hope this method serves that purpose.


Anonymous said...

Donald.. I actually disagree with your opion on this...the shootout would favor weaker programs like UAA... college Hockey needs to make some moves to become more entertainment Friendly...Look at what Minor league Hockey has done and it has exploded.. College Hockey is losing teams..Bottom line..Where UAA has no band, no College atmosphere,I mean why sit back when you have a problem and stick your heels in the sand...Its not all winning on the ice cures all...College Hockey gets 1/10th of the attention of Womens Basketball.. College Hockey has done really nothing to entice the fan or create interest in the sport on a National Level. UAA needs every marketing tool available and just "win one for the gipper" is bunk. Everything needs a dose of Adrenalize to bring out the Fan both on a National and a local Level...The Shoot out adds excitement and at this point College hockey needs a JOLT...No way can you deny any way shape or form of creating interest and excitement of any kind on a local or National level..

Donald Dunlop said...

College Hockey is indeed a "niche" sport. As such we ought to recognize that adding gimmicks to the game isn't going to put more butts in the seats. I'd say that attendance and/or interest in the game only grows slowly at best on average but that "winning" is what ultimately grows it in ANY local community.

You can give FREE TICKETS away at some programs and not increase attendance.

So you know what that means? It means the people that do go love the game and have done so for a very very long time. And we will resist efforts to introduce gimmicks when they have the potential to reduce the integrity of the game.

And shootouts are a direct threat. At most a shootout is going to happen no more than 4 or 5 times for the home fans to witness. So out of 18 home games more fans are going to come because they have at most a 30 percent chance of seeing a shootout? That's a failed argument for obvious reasons.

You start from the premise that there is something wrong with ties. There just isn't. It is an equally valid result as a win or a loss. I'm sorry that some less sophisticated fans can't seem to take any satisfaction in ties.

And since you mention other sports ... The shootout has ruined the integrity of the World Cup. When you have a championship game decided by a skills competition you have no integrity eh? Oh ... Minor League Hockey as an example? No thanks ... painting the ice pink and/or special jerseys and cheerleading public address announcers leading "Here we go Seawolves" chants isn't anything I'd with which I'd want to be associated.

Anonymous said...

The point is College Hockey has been around for close to 100years...I think the shoot out could give lesser teams with recruiting disadvantages maybe a few more wins and its proved to up the entertainment value at other levels... No question The Donalds are coming to the games its the people/family's sitting on fence that Alaska has to attract... and Im not in favor of it in the playoffs just its time to start making moves to attract fans..oops I forgot this isnt a business is it.

Donald Dunlop said...

I've got a suggestion.

Hold the shootouts BEFORE the game starts. I promise you the point totals in the standings wouldn't be much different than it will be having the shootouts after the game is over. Think about it. The teams that are "built" for shootouts are going to get more of the available points whether the shootout was before or after the game. Every fan would be guaranteed to see a shootout instead of just the 30 percent chance.

Since the outcome (number of league points) would arguably be the same then can you give me a reason why shootouts shouldn't be before the game instead of after?

Kris said...

College hockey doesn't need or want shootouts. I have your back on this one Donald. Just because the NHL is full of sellout owners doesn't mean colleges should.

Suze said...

Just curious, would shootouts mean both teams get one point for the tie and another point for the shootout winner?

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 10:23. The NCAA has a history of being the frontline for experimental actions; i.e. 2 referee system 5-6 years ago which failed and is now making a comeback. Although the shootout is not necessarily experimental with the NHL and minor leagues adopting the idea, it is an advertising ploy. Before casting judgment about the negative effects of the shootout, look as the results in the NHL. The majority of the players were dead set against the idea when the idea came out; after a few years the majority of the players have come around and now embrace the idea. As a player, it is exciting and the fans love it.
Look at the Nye Frountier tournament; kicking UAF's ass in a shootout is most exciting and the fans go cracy. I am a traditionalist but in the famous words of Wayne Gretzky; "this game has changed". The NCAA must change......

Donald Dunlop said...

Yes. 3 points for a win, 2 points for a shootout win and 1 point for a shootout loss. It will only affect regular season CCHA standings. It will not be used to calculate PWR and/or NCAA tourney participation (that won't last ... after a couple of years of shootouts they'll introduce it to the NCAA's).

anon @ 940:
Why not have the shootout BEFORE the game? Every game would have one and that excitement that shootout advocates would be there every game. It makes more sense, can anyone tell me why they didn't put it before the game?

Anonymous said...

The CCHA shootout points are NOT 3 points for a win....the points follow the NHL style of giving out points, which is 2 points for a win in regulation or overtime, 1 point for each school at the end of overtime, and 1 point for the shootout winner. The most points a school can get even with a shootout is 2 points. From CCHA rules:
"Two (2) points for a win in regulation or overtime, one (1) point for each school if the game is tied at the conclusion of the five-minute overtime period and one (1) point is awarded to the team who wins the shootout."

Just thought that it needed to be accurate since the talk here is about shootouts and points.

Anonymous said...

Anon good point on the correct number of points.

Donald Dunlop said...

Yeah my bad on that. I misread it the first time and never bothered to double check.

It doesn't moderate my objections though. The fact that they are rewarding a team in the standings for having more skilled forwards than the other team still invalidates the previous 65 minutes.

The only way I might not object is if they had the shootouts BEFORE EVERY GAME. Award the points that way in the event the ACTUAL game ends with a tie score.

The reason I keep suggesting that ludicrous sounding idea is because simply having the shootout as a conclusion to a tightly played tie game WILL create strategies that lead to more shootouts. At least my ludicrous idea improves the competitive nature of the game. If a team loses the pregame shootout they'll double their efforts during the actual game. Which means there is less chance the game would end in a tie.

And to answer my own question about WHY they don't do a shootout before every game ... they don't because it would be gimmickry. Oh gee ... then why do it after the game? I really don't GET how people can't see what they are risking.

They are risking one coach in a contest changing his strategy in order to reach the shootout. I'd rather see two teams trying to win a game than one team trying to win while the other tries to preserve the tie so he can get his precious draft picks into the shootout. When coaching strategy is dictated by a large scale change like this then the game suffers.

Of course my REAL objection here is that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH TIES. If we have truly reached the place in this sports culture where we cannot be satisfied without a clearly defined winner and loser then I'm afraid I'm lost in the woods. We all saw a good example in the Olympics didn't we? Now they carry out to the thousands (fourth decimal point) to determine winners in gymnastics? What a crock of shit that is. Would it have been so awful to give both of those gymnastics chicks gold?

Without the benefit of electronic timing and high speed cameras we would have seen more than a few ties in Beijing ... and you know what? I'd be totally OK with that.

I reject that mentality that says we must "win at all costs". I'm in no way against the stiffest possible competition ... that is the GLORY of sport. But when we reach the point where we can only be satisfied with a win then I'm afraid I have to jump off the horse in midstream.

There is nothing wrong with a tie. It is a valid result. It is an equally valid result to a win and/or a loss. That's what happens when we compete. We can win, lose or draw. That is the way it has always been. That is the natural order of all competition. Adding shootouts is tantamount to fucking with the basic fabric of the universe.

Anonymous said...

Another thought...why don't they go to a 5 or 10-minute 4X4 to create offensive opportunities instead of a shootout. I get it that it still violates the hockey purity not playing 5 on 5, but if they want to or are gonna do "something" to help dissuade ties, why not just make it a little more wide-open for a while, and then if nobody scores, its a tie.
I think the shootout thing is a bit may work in the NHL where every team has 3 high-end forwards who can score, but many NCAA teams do not have that luxury.

Donald Dunlop said...

The reason they don't expand overtime is because they aren't really interested in breaking ties. They are interested in adding a "hook"; a "gimmick" that less sophisticated fans can understand. The standard hue and cry in hockey is to find a way to increase attendance. They want hockey to become basketball and/or football ... anything that smells of nuance will eventually have to go.

jjack said...

Regardless of arguments about the purity of the game and whether a tie is a legitimate finish, I think that shootouts are kind of boring. I like to see strategy. I like one-timers and goals off the rebound.

Breakaways are exciting because a player managed to exploit the other team's mistakes and get an unexpected opportunity. Seeing shooters take turns making pot shots in an orderly fashion? Donald mentioned doing this before the seems to me they already do, when they're skating around getting warmed up, while I'm in line at the taco stand wishing it was still the DOG POUND.

I actually really like the idea that an anonymous mentioned earlier, the 4 on 4 OT. That is something that I think is exciting to watch, and I think would still result in a valid outcome.

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