Heads-or-tails rule to decide game leaves Calgary hockey team bitter

Team bitter over heads-or-tails rule

CALGARY — Players on a Calgary minor hockey team and their parents have flipped out after a coin toss was used to decide the outcome of a crucial playoff game.

There was no winner after a shootout last Saturday between the Calgary Royals and Calgary Buffalo Wranglers in their AA Bantam city championship quarter-final match.

The referees told the coaches the contest would have to be decided by the flip of a coin, which the Wranglers won to move on to the next round the following day.

Hockey Calgary says the coin toss rule has been in place for a few seasons, but Saturday marked the first time it was used.

The organization says it was invoked because the booked time for the rink had elapsed but WinSport, which owns the arena, says it was never asked to extend the booking.

Hockey Canada, the parent organization, says it will be working with associations to try to avoid similar issues in the future.

Royals coach Jarvis Bender said he was told in advance about the possibility of the match being determined by a coin toss, but players and spectators were left in the dark.

“No one wants to see the season end that way,” he said. “We started in September, and we kind of built up to this weekend. It’s a real tough way to end the year, not based on what the players have done, but what the coin reads.”

He said 10 minutes of overtime play is usually permitted before a shootout begins, but that didn’t happen on Saturday, possibly due to a scheduling conflict.

In a statement released Monday evening, WinSport said at no point was it asked to extend time for the game.

“We share the same disappointment that a team’s season was determined by a coin toss, however, WinSport has no responsibility or authority for establishing or enforcing the rules and format of these games.”

Hockey Calgary said the issue stems from a major ice shortage in the city as the organization struggles to accommodate its 14,000 members. (CTV Calgary)

The Canadian Press