LAFAYETTE, LA – Today, the Southern Professional Hockey League made changes to their shootout procedure. Tip of the hat to the Pensacola Ice Flyers Facebook Page for posting.

Each team will be given five (5) shots, unless the outcome is determined earlier in the shootout. If the score remains tied after each team has taken five (5) shots, the shootout will proceed to a ‘sudden death’ format. Once the shootout has reached the ‘sudden death’ format, any player may be used, including those who were among the original five (5) shooters. A team may use the same player multiple times in the ‘sudden death’ format. The sudden death procedure shall continue until a winner has been declared.

The updated shootout procedure is in reaction to the Louisiana IceGators/Mississippi RiverKings record 15-round shootout, when teams were allowed to repeat shooters after the shootout’s 14th round once the RiverKings ran out of available skaters. There was some confusion at this point, as coaches and on-ice officials were unsure on how to proceed. The IceGators would eventually win the shootout on Jeremy Boyer’s second goal in the 15th round.

The new rules, which take effect immediately, will be similar to the IIHF’s shootout procedure, with the main difference being the international rules allow for three-round shootouts before coaches can opt to repeat shooters. The SPHL will keep their five-round shootout format. The NHL, AHL, and ECHL – each with three-round shootouts – do not allow for repeat shooters until all eligible skaters have already shot.

Personally, I prefer the three-round format like the other North American professional leagues. However, I also feel that the new SPHL format will be exciting in its own right since coaches will have their skill players take multiple shots in the event the shootout goes past five rounds. The SPHL may not have T.J. Oshie, Pavel Datsuyk, and Ilya Kovalchuk, who were the main participants in the eight-round USA/Russia shootout during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, but a Jeremy Boyer/Linden Bahm penalty shot duel would be very entertaining.

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