3-on-3: Various Formats (NHL Overtime vs All-Star Tournament)

HomePaul's Podium3-on-3: Various Formats (NHL Overtime vs All-Star Tournament)3-on-3: Various Formats (NHL Overtime vs All-Star Tournament)
3-on-3: Various Formats (NHL Overtime vs All-Star Tournament)
When the NHL introduced 3-on-3 overtime in 2015, it was well received for two main reasons. Firstly, this format increased the percentage of games decided in overtime, reducing the dependency on the shootout format. Secondly, it increased the entertainment factor. 3-on-3 opened the ice and led to end-to-end rushes with at least a shot at net, if not a scoring chance at each end. This format achieved its objective and was an immediate success. When a goal was scored, the game was over. The format resolves ties and entertains fans.
The NHL’s attempt to translate 3-on-3 into an All-Star Weekend showcase has not been nearly as successful. There are a lot of reasons for this failure, and we can’t blame them all on the format. The primary reason the All-Star event struggles is because it simply isn’t a competitive event. Regardless of which format is played, the players are not competing. In 2020, the women’s 3-on-3 event was far more entertaining than the men’s, simply because the women were competitive.

Competitive effort aside, the All-Star format has other factors impeding its entertainment value. The main problem is face-offs, or rather, the stoppages of play preceding face-offs. While regular season overtime needs to maintain face-offs for the sake of game-integrity, the All-Star format would be well-served to adopt an alternate format that emphasizes the skill aspects of the game and showcases player creativity.

Enterprising groups, including Fours Hockey, have modified playing formats to specifically address the mentioned shortcomings. This emerging upstart offers interesting versions of 3-on-3 hockey for tournament play and would be a worthy consideration for big venue events, such as the NHL All-Star Weekend.