3-on-3: a new concept for ice hockey players

It is international ice hockey, but not as we know it. Players and fans are getting ready for the debut of the mixed nations 3-on-3 events at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

“It’s faster, it’s more shots, it’s more goals, and when the music is playing it is going to be a real show for people to watch and a lot of fun to play,” says Norway’s Sebastian Aarsund.

Eight teams, made up of players from different nations, will compete in both the men’s and women’s events from January 10-15. Each team is allowed 11 players and two goalkeepers, with only three players and a goalie allowed on the ice at any time.

Sebastian Aarsund (NOR) | Travis Cranley

Games are played in the end zone of a normal rink, with the smaller field of play making for dynamic, non-stop action.

The athletes only learned who they would be playing with after arriving in Lausanne. “I’m not playing with any of these guys,” said Aarsund, pointing to his compatriots who are also competing in the men’s event.

Olympic Channel Video: ice-hockey-sport-explainer-lausanne-2020

The 3-on-3 format is not only new to the Winter Youth Games. Many of the players, such as New Zealand’s Tallulah Bryant, are still getting their heads around the rules as they train with their new teammates.

“No, I’ve never played 3-on-3. I played some 4-on-4, but just for practice,” said Bryant, who hails from Queenstown, one of the southern hemisphere’s most popular winter sport destinations.

Bryant said there are few female players at home, so she often finds herself playing in men’s competitions. The 3-on-3 format is just another challenge to enjoy on the ice.

“I found out [who is on] my team yesterday,” said Bryant. “I am with a Czech player, a girl from Japan, one from Mexico… I don’t think they can speak English but it’s a great experience,” she said.

The men’s and women’s 6-a-side ice hockey competitions will start in the second week of the Games.

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By Olympic Information Service

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