A new six-team, three-on-three professional ice hockey league known as 3ICE has announced their first player signings.
The league, which is scheduled to tour eight cities in Canada and the United States from June to August this year has named five former NHL players as their inaugural signings.
David Booth, Chris Bourque, Chris Conner, TJ Hensick, and Aaron Palushaj were the first players to join the league, which promises more player announcements soon. Each player signed a one year contract and will be available in the league’s draft.
“We have nearly 100 players signed for tryouts, which we are holding in Las Vegas in April, and these first five men not only tick that NHL box, but are exactly the type of speedy, nifty players we are looking for,” 3ICE’s Founder & CEO, E.J Johnston said. “We’ll announce more names soon, but the rest of the pool is just as exciting. We have world-class players from nearly every league around the globe and we will be a fast, highly-skilled and young league.”
The five initial players combined for 941 regular season games in the NHL with David Booth’s 530 leading the way.
Each team in the league however, will have significant NHL name power behind the bench as a group of NHL stars will assemble as coaches. These coaches include Guy Carbonneau, John Leclair, Grant Fuhr, Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, and Bryan Trottier.
Hockey Hall of Fame member Craig Patrick will serve as the league’s commissioner.
Johnston and Patrick hope the league can capitalize on the high-scoring, wide-open style of play afforded to three-on-three hockey.
“Three-on-three hockey has proven to be incredibly exciting,” Johnston said in a press release in 2021, nothing the speed, skill, and creativity afforded to this version of hockey.
The league is slated to drop the puck June 18 in Las Vegas before traveling to Denver, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Quebec City, London (Ontario), Hershey, and Grand Rapids. The playoffs and championship event will take place August 20 back in Las Vegas with $2-million in prize money on the line.
Three-on-three hockey has been part of the NHL and International overtime rules in recent years, and has been discussed as a potential second hockey offering at future Olympic competition.
3ICE was initially scheduled to begin play in 2021 but pushed back competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.