March 20, 2017 5:35 pm
Updated: March 20, 2017 11:33 pm

Hockey Calgary responds after playoff game coin toss enrages parents

WATCH: A big game between the Calgary Buffalo Wranglers and Calgary Royals came down to the flip of a coin due to ice time running out Saturday night. Kevin Smith explains the response from Hockey Calgary.


Hockey Calgary says it’s “truly disappointed” and is apologizing to those affected after a decision in a big game between the Calgary Buffalo Wranglers and Calgary Royals came down to the flip of a coin due to ice time running out Saturday night. But the organization says the coin toss rule has been in place for the Bantam AA playoff tournament for the previous four seasons.

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“We are fortunate that they have never been enacted,” executive director Kevin Kolbeka said in a statement Monday.

READ MORE: Calgary hockey parents outraged by playoff game decided by coin toss at Winsport

The game was held at WinSport at 7 p.m. and was one of many games being played as part of the AA City Championships.

Royals head coach Jarvis Bender said the game was tied and came down to a three player shootout but when no one scored, they had a coin toss.

“The toughest part for me was to tell 19 teenagers that all their hard work and dedication for the season was decided not by their skill but by a coin toss,” Bender told Global News in a previous interview. “The crowd was chanting, ‘Let the boys play!’ and they were obviously very upset.”

Watch below: A Calgary Bantam AA team is devastated this weekend, after their season ended because of a coin toss. Lisa MacGregor explains what happened.

Hockey Calgary said it doesn’t own or control ice time within facilities in and around the city, but does its best to schedule ice time so that its 14,500 members have appropriate access. The organization’s rules state if teams remain tied during playoffs, an Elite Council official has the authority to stop or extend overtime depending on the availability of ice.

The rules allow hockey games to go into 10 minutes of overtime but Bender believes there was an error made when their ice time was booked. WinSport was asked to extend the time to finish the shootout, but Bender said they wouldn’t budge due to a game scheduled afterwards.

“Generally our partner arenas are very supportive and provide us some leeway in this process if we happen to extend,” Kobelka said, but called Saturday a perfect storm. He wrote:

  1. Game ended in a tie.
  2. No time remained on the permit.
  3. A tournament representative at the event had been in conversation with arena management most of Friday regarding other scheduling issues and completion time for quarter/semi-finals. The tournament representative was told by WinSport arena management that we would NOT be permitted to go one minute past our permit time, as other paying members had priority and must start on time.
  4. The game ended at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, with the winner scheduled to play in semi-final at 8 a.m. Sunday morning.
  5. By Hockey Alberta rules, a provincial representative from Calgary had to be declared by end of day Sunday, March 19 to represent us at the Provincial Championships, therefore not providing us the ability to delay games, and re-schedule.

He said the tournament rep followed the Elite Council rules, which was relayed to all coaches before the game started.

“Much like the players, coaches, fans and other members of the Calgary community we are extremely dismayed on how this game concluded,” Kobelka wrote. “It once again raises the issue of the lack of ice that is available in our community at peak times.”

He said Hockey Calgary will continue to try to “improve the system and avoid having a similar situation unfold in the future.”

In a statement sent to Global News Monday evening, WinSport said it was “cooperative in trying to accommodate overtime games throughout the weekend and willing to provide extra time if necessary, including this particular game.” According to WinSport, no request for extra time in the game between the Royals and Wranglers was ever made.

You can view the statement from WinSport in its entirety below.

WinSport would like to clarify certain facts that have appeared in the media and a Hockey Calgary media release regarding a game that took place on Saturday, March 18, at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

The ice schedule was tight for Saturday games and no extra time was available to be added in advance to the tournament’s permit. However, WinSport was cooperative in trying to accommodate overtime games throughout the weekend and willing to provide extra time if necessary, including this particular game.

At no point was WinSport requested to extend the time for the Royals/Wranglers 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.

Since a request for additional ice time was never communicated to WinSport management or ice attendants by any coach, team management or on-ice official, the game concluded at its scheduled time of 9 p.m. Following a 15-minute flood, the next game commenced on schedule at 9:15 p.m.

With files from Global’s Tracy Nagai

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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