Lack of ice time blamed for Hockey Calgary playoff game decided by coin toss

The Calgary Royals lost their quarter final game to the Calgary Buffalo Wranglers after a coin toss didn't land in their favour.

Calgary Royals lost to the Calgary Buffalo Wranglers on March 18

Hockey Calgary's executive director Kevin Kobelka said the association is 'extremely dismayed' at how the playoff game between the Calgary Royals and the Buffalo Wranglers concluded. (CBC)

A lot of hockey fans would say they dislike seeing games end with a shootout, but imagine if a game was decided with a coin toss.

That's what happened this past weekend at a Bantam AA playoff game at WinSport in Calgary. The Calgary Royals lost their quarter-final game to the Calgary Buffalo Wranglers after the coin didn't land in their favour.

Hockey Calgary games are supposed to feature 10 minutes of overtime and a shootout in the event of a tie. But the association says the allotted ice time for the game was soon to expire, so the game instead went directly to a shootout, followed by the coin toss.

'Let them play'

"The crowd was yelling, 'let them play, let them play,' they were booing," Shelley Eddy, whose 14-year-old son plays for the Royals, told the Calgary Eyeopener. "It was pretty unbelievable. I've never in my life seen it and I've watched a lot of hockey."

Hockey Calgary has rules in place to deal with situations where there is a lack of ice time, and the last resort is the coin toss, Hockey Calgary president Kevin Kobelka said in an emailed statement released Monday.

"The tournament representative was told by WinSport arena management that we would NOT be permitted to go 1 minute past our permit time, as other paying members had priority and must start on time," the statement read.

WinSport fires back

Following the release of Hockey Calgary's statement, WinSport fired back, saying the facility "at no point" was asked to extend the time for the game in question. 

"The ice schedule was tight for Saturday games and no extra time was available to be added in advance to the tournament's permit," a statement from the winter sports facility said. "However, WinSport was cooperative in trying to accommodate overtime games throughout the weekend and willing to provide extra time if necessary, including this particular game."

"We share the same disappointment that a team's season was determined by a coin toss, however, WinSport has no responsibility or authority for establishing or enforcing the rules and format of these games," the statement read. 

Eddy said that's a conflict Hockey Calgary can resolve with WinSport. In the meantime, she wants the coin toss rule tossed out. 

"There are so many things you could do other than a coin toss," she said. "Going forward, I'm hoping that it can be rectified."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener