The Inaugural Season for 3ICE and What it Means for Hockey in South Africa

Many people are not familiar with the new format introduced by the NHL known as 3ICE. It’s dubbed the new three-on-three hockey league consisting of young professional ice hockey players and some greats who have retired.

South Africa will be observing the progress of this league as hockey has become one of the number one sports in the country. They have an impressive hockey team with Jethro Eustice, Rusten Abrahams, Tyson Dlungwana and Matthew Guise-Brown as their top-rated players.

So without further ado, let’s get into how 3ICE came about and how the league will work.

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Canada’s history with hockey

Canadians live for hockey; they breathe and eat it too.  It’s Canada’s favourite winter sport, and citizens in the country of all ages love the sport.

 A fun fact about Canadians is that parents in Canada start teaching their children how to skate as soon as they can walk.

So, why is hockey so loved in this country?

The simple reason is that they invented hockey, and they are arguably the best at it. The first indoor hockey game occurred in Montreal, Quebec, in 1875.  Many of the rules and regulations of the game were taken from this first match played in Montreal. 

Soon after that game, about 5-years later, other countries adopted the game and rules set out in Montreal. Over the last 20-years, Canada has had many successes in the sport. The men’s and women’s teams won Gold in the Olympic games in 2002 and 2010. In 2014 the men’s and women’s teams won the top prize in the world championship event.

How to play Ice Hockey?

The National Hockey League matches are played on a rink that is rectangular shaped with dimensions of 85 feet wide and 100 feet long. There are six players on each side, including the goalkeeper. Each match consists of three halves of 20 minutes, and there is a 15-minute intermission between each.

The substitution in an Ice Hockey match can be done while the game is in play, and forward players generally only skate for around 90-seconds.

If a fault or infringement is committed, the player is sent to the penalty box for 5 or 10 minutes.  Furthermore, if the goalkeeper gets a foul, one of his teammates must serve the penalty.

How does 3ICE differ from the original game?

Firstly, each team will only have three players on their side. They will play in elimination tournaments, and there are eight teams in each event. There are nine tournaments spread throughout Canada and the United States of America.

Games will have three eight-minute rounds, and they will use a running clock with no stoppages for video reviews. The games will still be played on a regular-sized rink, and players will come from a professional hockey backgrounds.

How can South Africa adopt a similar game plan?

South Africa has limited access to ice hockey rinks, but they can use their outdoor hockey fields as a substitute. They already have an excellent outdoor hockey team, and this new style of hockey will win over the younger generation. It is fast-paced, exciting and brings the fans closer to the action. There are many ways they can implement this game by introducing their own rules and relegations that make it more ideal for the South African conditions. There are many ways they can implement this game by introducing their rules and regulations that make it more suitable for the South African conditions.


Ice hockey is an exciting game that is played all over the world. It can be adapted in regions unfamiliar with ice hockey. From the start of 3ICE, the game has been upgraded for audiences of all ages. It delivers a fun night out for fans of the game.