Calgary parents furious after minor-league playoff game decided by coin toss

A loony decision was made to determine a minor-league hockey game in Calgary over the weekend. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)
A loony decision was made to determine a minor-league hockey game in Calgary over the weekend. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

A minor hockey association in Calgary somehow managed to find a more unpopular way to end an important game than the shootout.

On Saturday, the Bantam AA quarterfinal between the Calgary Royals and Calgary Buffalo Wranglers required extra time. Usually, the game would be decided by 10 minutes of overtime, followed by a three-player shootout if necessary. But due to a scheduling conflict at WinSport Arena, things took a rather unusual turn.

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Via the Calgary Sun, the teams were told after regulation they didn’t have time to play out the overtime period and the game went directly to the shootout. But after the first three shooters on both teams failed to score, WinSport staff stepped in and decided to flip a coin to determine the winner.

The Royals called ‘heads,’ making the questionable choice to go against the tried and true ‘tails never fails’ strategy, and ended up losing the game and a spot in the next round of the playoffs after the coin came up ‘tails.’

Royals head coach Jarvis Bender pleaded with officials to extend the shootout until a winner was determined, but WinSport “refused to budge” because they needed to start the next game. This was all by the books, apparently, as Hockey Calgary rules state that if a playoff game “cannot be concluded due to unforeseen circumstances,” the Elite Council will determine a tie breaking format to declare a winner.

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“This will be my fourth year coaching minor hockey and I played since I was three years old … I’ve been around the game for 23 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

This decision left players upset and parents enraged, and rightly so. How much more time would it truly take before a winner emerged, like 10 minutes max?

If they are looking for any silver lining in this unfortunate situation, the shootout is basically a coin toss anyways and still a terrible way to lose a playoff game.


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