3-on-3 Pro Hockey League 3ICE to Debut Next June; Raised Nearly $10M To Date

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 8, 2021

LAVAL, QC - OCTOBER 27:  A view of a CCM stick and puck during the warmups between the Toronto Marlies and the Laval Rocket at Place Bell on October 27, 2021 in Montreal, Canada.  The Laval Rocket defeated the Toronto Marlies 5-0.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Investors are placing a big bet on the 3ICE three-on-three hockey league.

Sports Business Journal's Mark J. Burns reported the league recently received $8.5 million in funding to bring its overall total to almost $10 million.

3ICE is set to make its debut June 18 in Las Vegas, kicking off an inaugural nine-week 2022 season:

3ICE @3IceHockey

Hair-on-fire hockey is here! This summer, we're officially kicking off the inaugural season of 3ICE and bringing fans one thing: pure, unadulterated excitement. Six teams. Six skaters + goalies--and a Hall of Fame Coach on each team.<br>This is the best part of hockey. This is 3ICE. <a href="https://t.co/N7l8vkJRnC">pic.twitter.com/N7l8vkJRnC</a>

In 2015, the NHL's Board of Governors approved a three-on-three format when games went into overtime. Not surprisingly, the change quickly caught on with fans since it inevitably created a more uptempo flow.

"Three-on-three hockey has proven to be an incredibly exciting display of speed, skill and creativity, and we see a creation of a league based entirely on that as a natural extension whose time has come," said 3ICE CEO E.J. Johnston to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN in January 2020.

Commissioner Craig Patrick added the competition will "thrive on pure skill, creativity, play making and goal scoring.

Beyond giving fans something a little different to what's on offer, Johnston told Wyshynski that 3ICE can also serve as a showcase for players with NHL aspirations.

Grant Fuhr, Guy Carbonneau and Bryan Trottier are among the six coaches and provide a level of instant credibility.

With four seasons already in the books, the BIG3 basketball league has carved out a niche for itself. Perhaps that served as an additional source of motivation to believe a three-on-three hockey league can thrive.

3ICE was originally slated to debut in 2021 but pushed its grand opening back to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.