Players love shootout rule

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Wojtek Wolski would love to have an opportunity to end a hockey game with one shot but wonders whether it would be a healthy endeavour from a team's perspective.

At its board of governors meeting last month, the Ontario Hockey League approved in principle to adopt the shootout next season to decide games still tied after five minutes of overtime. The league did so with the understanding there is a process that involves discussions with the Canadian Hockey League, but it appears the shootout will be part of the OHL's regular season in 2005-06.

"It would be pretty exciting, but there would be some players who would work so hard through a game and overtime and then not have a chance to decide it," Wolski, the Brampton Battalion's leading scorer, said. "It would be a heartbreaker. But I would like to be a part of it."

Interestingly, a couple of OHL goalies said they would not have any problem with having a game end with a shootout.

"I think teams would work a lot harder to score a goal in overtime, but if the league brings it in, I'm up for it," Justin Peters of the St. Michael's Majors said. "If I've just made 50 saves in a 1-1 tie, I don't think I would have problems in a shootout."

GLAD

The Mississauga IceDogs' David Shantz was glad to learn of the possibility of shootouts.

"Elimination of ties? Good," Shantz said. "You want to rise to the occasion. The opportunity to show your skills and ability to people who are watching would be great."

The OHL's competition committee also is investigating some other rule changes, not unlike those undertaken by the American Hockey League this season. Included are possibly bringing back the tag-up offside rule and widening the blue lines and centre-ice line.

FINGERS CROSSED

Oshawa city council is expected to vote at its meeting March 10 whether to accept a proposed 5,700-seat (including boxes), $40-million rink that would become the Generals' new home.

"Right now we play out of a 3,700-seat facility that has very few creature comforts," Gens owner John Davies said. "It costs $1.3 million a year to run the team and we're limited to drawing revenues."

If the rink gets the go-ahead, Davies expects the club would move into it early in the 2006-07 season. Also, the Generals would vie for the Memorial Cup in 2008, Davies said.

BRIEFLY

The OHL playoffs will begin March 24, four days after the conclusion of the regular season ... Kitchener Rangers captain Michael Richards has been cleared by doctors to return to action tomorrow night against the Kingston Frontenacs. Richards has been out since Jan. 27 with a groin problem.


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