Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) – The NHL will move to a 3-on-3 overtime format during the regular season after the league’s board of governors voted unanimously to OK the change on Wednesday.
The board also voted unanimously to give coaches the ability to challenge a goal in certain situations, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced.
In another unanimous vote, the board approved a change to the way faceoffs are handled.
The changes had already been approved by general managers and the competition committee, which includes representatives from the players union.
The previous 4-on-4 format for the NHL’s five-minute overtime periods had been in place since the 1999-2000 season. The hope is that reducing the number of players on the ice will lead to fewer shootouts.
The NHL will expand video replay to give coaches the opportunity to challenge goals scored on potential offside or goalie-interference plays. Coaches must have a timeout available to call for a challenge. As in the NFL, if they lose the challenge, they will forfeit a timeout.
Under the new faceoff rule, the player on the defensive side must place his stick on the ice first, giving the player on offense an advantage. Faceoffs at center ice will continue to follow the old rule, with the visiting player required to put his stick down first.
Bettman said the NHL will begin accepting applications next month from cities interested in starting an expansion team.
Seattle, Quebec City and Las Vegas, where the NHL Awards were taking place on Wednesday night, have been mentioned as possible expansion cities.