At the Connecticut high school girls’ hockey championship game this past weekend the game went through double overtime before inexplicably ending in a tie. Simsbury and the mixed team of East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor battled in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship, exited the second overtime tied 2-2, and expected to head back out for a third overtime before being told to line up for the announcement of co-champions.
There wouldn’t be a major problem with this had the rules sent to the coaches prior to the tournament not stated that in the case of overtime, teams would play eight-minute long overtime periods until a winner was decided. Even if the officials had followed the guidelines of the SCC, the conference the teams play in, the game should have gone to a shootout after the second overtime. The teams got neither of these outcomes. Rather, the circumstantial evidence seems to point to the girls’ championship game getting cut early in order to get the boys championship under way. The boy’s county title game between Greenwich and Darien was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m., which the girls game had pushed later with the second overtime.
It is hard to believe that gender did not play some role in this decision. Had the roles been reversed and the boys’ game taken place with the girls’ teams waiting in the wings, would the game have been cut short and the boys’ teams announced co-champions in order to get the girls’ game under way?
According to what Rich Bulan, the FCIAC girls’ hockey chairperson, told The Hartford Courant, the decision had nothing to do with gender and that the decision not to play three overtimes was made before the game even started by a three-person committee. If this were the case, then the coaches of both teams should have been notified before the game rather than in the middle of the second overtime. Had the coaches and players known the game would not advance past a second overtime they would have likely changed their approach to the game.
At worst, this was a blatant display of sexism in high school sports. At best, it was pure incompetence on the officials and committee for not notifying the teams prior to the game of the rule change. Whatever the justification, there were no winners at the conclusion of the game, only two disappointed teams and an embarrassment of a championship.