Skating on Thin Ice: Rule Changes and Team Strategies in the NHL

LICOS Discussion Paper No. 175/2006

24 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2006

See all articles by Anurag Narayan Banerjee

Anurag Narayan Banerjee

Durham Business School

Johan F. M. Swinnen

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS); European Commission, DG II

Alfons Weersink

University of Guelph - Department of Agricultural Economics and Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

In an effort to stimulate a more exciting and entertaining style of play, the National Hockey Association (NHL) changed the rewards associated with the results of overtime games. Under the new rules, teams tied at the end of regulation both receive a single point regardless of the outcome in overtime. A team scoring in the sudden-death 5-minute overtime period would earn an additional point. Prior to the rule change in the 1999-2000 season, the team losing in overtime would receive no points while the winning team earned 2 points. This paper presents a theoretical model to explain the effect of the rule change on the strategy of play during both the overtime period and the regulation time game.

The results suggest that under the new overtime format equally powerful teams will play more offensively in overtime resulting in more games decided by a sudden-death goal. The results also suggest that while increasing the likelihood of attacking in overtime, the rule change would have a perverse effect on the style of play during regulation by causing them to play conservatively for the tie. Empirical data confrm the theoretical results. The paper also shows that increasing the rewards to a win in regulation time would prevent teams from playing defensively during regular time.

Keywords: Ice Hockey, Game Theory, NHL Overtime Rule

JEL Classification: C72, L83

Suggested Citation

Banerjee, Anurag Narayan and Swinnen, Johan F.M. and Weersink, Alfons, Skating on Thin Ice: Rule Changes and Team Strategies in the NHL (June 2006). LICOS Discussion Paper No. 175/2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=947445 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.947445

Anurag Narayan Banerjee (Contact Author)

Durham Business School ( email )

Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3LB
United Kingdom

Johan F.M. Swinnen

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS) ( email )

Waaistraat 6
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

European Commission, DG II ( email )

Wetstrath 200
Office 15172
1049 Brussels
Belgium
+32-2-2960442 (Phone)
Not available (Fax)

Alfons Weersink

University of Guelph - Department of Agricultural Economics and Business ( email )

Guelph, N1G 2W1, Ontario
Canada
519 824-4120, Ext. 2766 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
61
Abstract Views
824
rank
357,821
PlumX Metrics