- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Ray Bourque, a Hockey Hall of Famer and Boston Bruins legend, has joined 3ICE as a head coach when the 3-on-3 summer hockey league returns for its second season.
“Three-on-three is so exciting. I love seeing it during the [NHL] regular season because I hate the shootout. It’s nonstop action that you get with that,” Bourque told ESPN this week. “I never played in it. Trying to coach it will be interesting.”
3ICE is scheduled to visit seven cities this season, starting in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on June 28 and finishing with the Patrick Cup Championship at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday, Aug. 12. Each tour stop features four of the league’s eight teams competing in bracketed single-elimination tournaments, with two first-round games, a consolation match and a title game.
Bourque joins coaches and former NHL players John LeClair, Guy Carbonneau, Grant Fuhr, Joe Mullen, and Larry Murphy from the league’s inaugural season. Ed Johnston Sr. and Craig Patrick join as head coaches this season.
3ICE asked Bourque to join as a head coach in its inaugural season, but the league’s weekend schedule didn’t line up with his. This season’s schedule has all but one tour stop on a Wednesday night, so Bourque said that schedule worked for him.
Another reason Bourque signed up: His sons, Chris and Ryan, have both decided to play in 3ICE this season.
“I haven’t coached them since early youth hockey, when I would help out with their teams,” Bourque said.
The 3ICE league debuted last season. It featured mostly minor league players, and only a handful had NHL experience. Besides playing 3-on-3, the league gained attention for some innovative rules changes such as penalty shots instead of power plays and allowing pucks to be played off the netting behind the glass.
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