TSN and RDS have picked up the Canadian broadcast rights for 3ICE, a new independent three-on-three professional hockey league set to make its debut in June 2021.
Helmed by E.J. Johnston, son of former NHL goalie, coach and general manager Eddie Johnston, and Hockey Hall of Famer Craig Patrick, the new league builds on the three-on-three overtime concept, introduced in 2015.
3ICE games will be played on a full-sized rink and comprised of two, eight-minute halves using a running clock and aimed at showcasing fast-paced, skill-driven hockey.
“3ICE is going to thrive on pure skill, creativity, play making and goal scoring,” said Patrick, Commissioner of 3ICE, in a release. “What that means for fans is that our events will be all hockey and no filler. Fans will get seven games in a single-elimination format and a champion will be crowned at each of our nine stops across North America. No penalties, only penalty shots. No long intermissions or stoppage in play for video reviews. Just pure excitement.”
“3 on 3 hockey has proven to be incredibly exciting display of speed, skill and creativity and we see a creation of a league based entirely on that as a natural extension whose time has come,” added Johnston. “We believe we have the best part of hockey and when you add to that the way fans consume and share content today, we can see a day with 3ICE media platforms and leagues in North America, Europe and beyond.”
An inaugural season tour is planned for Summer 2021 with stops in nine cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each of the league’s eight teams will consist of seven players from a “professional hockey pedigree.” The league won’t have teams based in particular cities, instead all eight teams will visit each tour city and play in a bracket-style format to determine a champion at each and every tour stop. Sixty games will be played per season, culminating in a final league championship game.
In addition to a Canadian broadcast partnership with Bell Media, the league has signed television deals with CBS Sports Network in the U.S., with the championship game to air on CBS Television Network. The league has also formed a partnership with Getty Images Inc. and ASM Global.