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Revamped overtime rules highlight AHL changes

The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors approved a number of rule changes for the 2014-15 season on Thursday, including a bold restructuring of the league’s overtime procedures.

In place of the conventional five-minute overtime session, the AHL will conduct a seven-minute overtime period during the 2014-15 season. The teams will play 4-on-4 for a minimum of three minutes. At the first whistle after 4:00 remains on the clock, each team will remove a skater and compete 3-on-3. If a winner does not emerge during overtime, then a shootout commences with three participants from each team. The AHL has required five shooters per side in years past.

The AHL is believed to be the first professional league to employ the 3-on-3 overtime format.

“We figured this is the best for fans: Decide the game in a team atmosphere,” said Chicago Wolves general manager WENDELL YOUNG. “We find the trend of shootouts going up and we’d like to see as many situations as possible settled with game play. It’s a very innovative step by the AHL. I think it’ll give the most skilled and fast teams an advantage.”

Other rule changes include updates to major penalties and helmet protocol. Beginning next season, a player who receives two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game will be given an automatic game misconduct. Additionally, any player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play must immediately exit the playing surface or reattach his helmet and chin strap, otherwise receiving a minor penalty.

A detailed list of the rule changes can be found at TheAHL.com.

The 2014-15 AHL regular season begins on Oct. 10 with the Wolves home opener celebration slated for Saturday, Oct. 11. To learn about the team’s summertime ticket specials, call 1-800-THE-WOLVES or visit ChicagoWolves.com.