Players, parents, and coaches flipped out when a critical AA Bantam playoff hockey game was decided by a coin toss in Calgary over the weekend.
Saturday’s quarter-final game between the Calgary Royals and Calgary Buffalo Wranglers went to a shootout. When no winner emerged, referees summoned the coaches to centre ice, where they broke the news that the heated match would be decided by gravity and luck.
Calgary Royals coach Jarvis Bender told CTV News Channel that he was told in advance there could be a coin toss decision, but the players and parents were completely shocked. He said some of the fans began chanting “let the boys play.”
“No one wants to see season end that way,” he said on Monday. “We started in September, and we kind of built up to this weekend all season. It’s a real tough way to end the year, not based on what the players have done, but what the coin reads.”
The decision to opt for a coin toss was an unusual one. Bender said there is typically 10 minutes of overtime play before a shootout. That didn’t happen this time, possibly due to a scheduling conflict.
“I know it’s tough to find ice and whatnot, but it’s hard to believe that the coin toss was in the original rules,” Bender said.
The Royals lost to the Wranglers after that team called “heads” and the coin landed on “tails.”
There was no time to appeal the decision since the Wrangles went on to compete in the next round of playoffs on Sunday.
Bender said he struggled to explain the referees reasoning to his “very upset group of 19 teenagers.”
“Our goaltender, after we told him, still didn’t understand that the game was ended on a coin toss,” he said. “I’ve been playing the game my whole life. It’s been 26 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”