End Games in Overtime, Not Shootouts

by The Cowl Editor on March 1, 2018

Professional Sports

No Need to End Big Games in a Shootout

by Meaghan Cahill ’20

Sports Co-editor

On the anniversary of the 1980 Olympics’ “Miracle on Ice,” the United States Women’s Hockey Team made history of their own by winning their first Gold Medal in 20 years. The team achieved victory in a dramatic shootout on Feb. 22, beating rival Canada 3-2. And while the women’s team played phenomenally in all of their games in PyeongChang, their win brings up the much debated argument on shootouts.

There is no denying that shootouts, especially in hockey, can be extremely entertaining to watch. However, despite the entertainment factor, shootouts should not be a determining factor on which team gets to win the game, especially in a game as big as a gold medal game.

During regular season games shootouts are not much of a problem because not much is at stake. Yet, for a gold medal game to be decided by what is essentially a coin flip, that is just not okay. In the National Hockey League, all playoff games are played out until there is a game-winning goal scored, no matter how many over-time periods it takes. That should not be any different for the Olympics.

That is not to take away from the Americans’ win, because it was a remarkable feat all around that was very exciting to watch. However, choosing to end the game with a shootout because it was getting to be too long was not fair to either team. They should have been allowed the opportunity to play until t

A member of the USA womens hockey team shoots on Canadian goalie during the gold medal game in the olympics.
Photo Courtesy of Reuters/David W. Cerry

he very end because up until that point, those athletes had given everything to come that far in the games, and to let it end like that was not fair to them.

Three sports currently use shootouts as a final determination for who wins the game: soccer, ice hockey, and field hockey. The biggest problem with shootouts is that they do not fairly represent the 60+ minutes played by both teams. There is no denying that teams are giving everything they have in games that go over the standard 60 minutes of hockey and still be tied. Team effort and perseverance drives the entire game and for that game to be decided in a shootout diminishes those aspects of it.

Shootouts come down to a single player and a goalie and there can only be two outcomes: either the puck goes into the net or it is saved. There is really no play involved and it is nothing more than a trivial way to end a game, especially in games of high importance. It denies players the opportunity to contribute to their team win, because ultimately, it is a single player that gets to be the hero of the game.

In conclusion, shootouts should not be used to determine an outcome of a game that so heavily involves team effort. Shootouts ultimately rest on the luck of a single player and in the case of  high stakes games such as the Olympics, it does not provide a satisfying ending worthy enough of the two teams fighting for the win.