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Hockey Shootouts: A Rule that should be removed

In hockey, overtime is necessary if the teams are tied after three periods. A shootout occurs after overtime when three on three play for five minutes and remains scoreless. Each team selects one player to take a shot at the opposing goaltender for three rounds. The team with the most successful shots after the three rounds is the winner. If there isn’t a winner, the shootout continues to sudden death until one team wins.

Shootouts were not a part of the National Hockey League until the 2005-06 season.  The shootout was added to college hockey in 2008, following the NHL. Each league has different rules for shootouts beyond the basics already mentioned. Shootouts are used to declare a winner for points. Ultimately, it does not matter which team performed better; once they enter a shootout, it is anyone’s game. 

The home team gets to decide if they go first or second. Players can not be serving a penalty when in a shootout. Each team alternates until there is a winner of the shootout. The player starts at center ice and heads towards the opposing goal. The player must keep the puck in a forward motion. If it goes backward, it is a no-goal. 

The team must submit their three players and can only shoot once, and only one skater can be out at once. Players can shoot again after all eligible shooters have gone, and a winner was not declared. 

In conference play, when entering a shootout, both teams get a point, and the winner of the shootout leaves the game with two points instead of one. However, the rules can change for the different conferences depending on the game type. In the Beanpot, where all the Boston schools compete against each other in a tournament, there is no shootout. If it’s just a conference game, it just gives free points.

Most hockey fans do not like this rule in hockey because it is always a toss-up of who wins. However, many fans do not realize that each team gets a point when the game enters the first overtime. Through all the emotions that come with the shootout, it is a good reminder that either way, both teams leave the game with a point, which is forgotten about when a game enters the shootout part of the game if needed. It is a fun aspect of the game for newer hockey fans since they can see skills and not just look for hockey fights. However, if it is a game that determines a team moving on in playoffs or a tournament-style environment, shootouts can create a lot of chaos and emotion among fans and players.

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