Thunderbirds Testing New Rule To Begin Games With A Shootout

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds have received league approval to experiment with a new rule for all home games at the Fairgrounds Annex for the remainder of the 2018-19 regular season. All Carolina Thunderbirds home games beginning with the November 30th game against Port Huron will feature a five-man shootout prior to the opening faceoff to settle a potential tie at the end of overtime.

Thunderbirds President/GM Scott Brand crafted the rule in hopes to give fans extra incentive to arrive early to games and to make overtime more exciting for fans.

"As a hockey guy, I am not big on shootouts, but its part of today’s game and the fans seem to like it" Brand said. "With the advent of 3 on 3 hockey, shootout are becoming a very rare event and for those fans that like it, this is a way to satisfy them."

The shootout is only intended to settle ties at the end of 3-on-3 overtime should nobody score in the allotted time. If the game ends in a tie, the winner of the shootout from the beginning of the game holds the tiebreaker and claims the extra point at the end of the night.

"My thought was let’s try it and give it a chance, let the fans vote on it and see if it works. I am sure like the icing rule, we will need to make some tweaks overall, but I think it could add more excitement and marketing opportunities for the game" Brand said.  

Since the Thunderbirds' inception they have only played in one overtime game in the Fairgrounds Annex and it was a playoff game so regulation overtime rules at the time did not apply.

After the opening weekend for the experiment, fans will be given a forum to voice their opinions on the shootout rule.

Full rule can be found here.


The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 66,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).