Thunderbirds

Fans who attend Carolina Thunderbirds games for the rest of the season at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex will get a bonus if they arrive early.

The Federal Hockey League has approved a pre-game, five-man shootout before the the opening faceoff. The winner of the shootout would gain an advantage if the game ends after overtime in a tie.

The rule is an experiment and will start with Friday’s game against Port Huron.

General manger Scott Brand of the Thunderbirds said: "As a hockey guy, I am not big on shootouts, but it’s part of today’s game and the fans seem to like it. With the advent of 3-on-3 hockey, shootouts are becoming a very rare event and for those fans that like it, this is a way to satisfy them."

The shootout is intended to settle ties at the end of 3-on-3 overtime should nobody score in the allotted time. If the game ends in a tie, the winner of the shootout holds the tiebreaker and would claim the extra point in the standings.

"My thought was let’s try it and give it a chance, let the fans vote on it and see if it works,” Brand said. “I am sure like the icing rule, we will need to make some tweaks overall, but I think it could add more excitement and marketing opportunities for the game.”

The first-place Thunderbirds will play at the Annex on Friday night at 7:30 and then again on Saturday against Port Huron at 6 p.m.

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jdell@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-4081

@johndellWSJ

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