The eight coaches are: six-time Stanley Cup winner Bryan Trottier; three-time champion Guy Carbonneau; five-time All-Star John LeClair; four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero; four-time Stanley Cup winner Larry Murphy; three-time champion Joe Mullen; and Ed Johnston. Johnston and LeClair are the only members of the group not selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Who, exactly, these coaches will have on their rosters remains to be seen, but Johnston thinks assembling the player pool will be one of the easier aspects of the launch. Johnston points to specific body type — shorter, faster players, with elite hands and stick speed — and age (mid-20s to early to mid-30s) when describing a typical 3ICE player.
The point of implementing the new league is to bring in a faster, cut-down format to remain relevant amid change demographics in the digital age. Fewer players playing hockey tends to produce more open ice and goal-scoring, which makes for more entertainment.
This league will not be officiated with the NHL in any way. It will feature seven games in a single-elimination format, with a champion to be crowned at each of the nine planned pit stops across the continent.
There will be eight teams, each consisting of seven players and a head coach. All teams will visit each city in the league and play 60 games each summer season while the NHL offseason is going on.
The 3ICE schedule begins in June and lasts nine weeks, with all teams traveling to a different location each week. Currently, the league has whittled the list down to 15-20 metropolitan candidates, primarily in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, but also the Midwest.
E.J. Johnston, son of former goalie and coach Ed Johnston, and NHL veteran Craig Patrick will host the league games on TSN in every province in Canada besides Quebec, where RDS will cover the games.
“When the puck drops for our inaugural season in the summer of 2021, fans will have the chance to enjoy nine hockey filled weekends in nine different locations throughout the U.S. and Canada,” added Johnston, CEO of 3ICE. “We’ll deliver news with the same innovative, fan-centric approach in which we created our league. Fans will be given the opportunity to be closer to the game and players like never before, potentially impacting on-ice competition with real-time interactive voting.
About 3ICE: 3ICE is a new and totally independent three-on-three professional ice hockey league in North America, created by CEO E.J. Johnston, Commissioner Craig Patrick and COO/CMO Michael Williams. Designed to give fans the speed, skill and excitement they love 100% of the time, the on-ice action moves at an unprecedented pace providing the ultimate hockey experience. 3ICE will begin competitive play in the summer of 2021. 3ICE will consist of 8 teams. For more information, visit www.3ICE.com.
Follow 3ICE: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/3ICEhockey/;
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgrFH53D9bsFOhgbsnRH6WQ; and
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/3icehockey/ .
By Jon Sorensen