The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Origin of the Shootout

In my attempts at trying to "spruce up" my ideas for the power-play shootout (see elsewhere in this lovely blog), I was attempting to see when the shootout was first used in organized competition.

I found that the WHA apparently used the shootout in the pre-season of their first year (1972), and that a pre-season game on October 3, 1972 was decided in a shootout. (This was taken from Murray Greig's Big Bucks and Blue Pucks: From Hull to Gretzky, an anecdotal history of the late, great World Hockey Association; Toronto, 1997: MacMillan Canada.)

The Houston Aeros and the Minnesota Fighting Saints skated to a 4-4 tie in regulation; after a 10-minute OT the two teams were still tied. In the first round - which was a best-of-five format, like that used in the old IHL and the current AHL - both teams scored twice to remain tied at 6-6. The two teams then exchanged three consecutive misses on the penalty shot before the Saints missed their shot and Don Grierson scored for Houston on the 18th attempt (ninth shooter).

I suspect, though Greig doesn't state it, that the number of shooters it took to complete the shootout made it unwieldy. Greig also doesn't mention who came up with the idea for using the shootout.