Raatz: Chips won’t be in shootouts

Manistee coach Jon Raatz, seen here during practice last week, said the Chippewas won’t take part in shootouts. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

SCOTTVILLE — Shootouts are coming to high school hockey.

Just don’t expect the Manistee Chippewas to be part of them.

“Absolutely not,” Manistee coach Jon Raatz said before practice last week. “I won’t agree to a shootout.”

In May, the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Representative Council approved shootouts in regular season games for the 2011-12 season. They would involve three shooters from each team and used immediately following regulation play that ends in a tie, and couldn’t be used following a tie through overtime.

The use of shootouts requires adoption by a league or the consent of both coaches in a single game. Raatz said the Northern Michigan Hockey League, which Manistee is a part of, will not use shootouts, nor will he agree to one in a non-league game. Instead, the NMHL and the co-op Chippewas will continue to play eight-minute overtimes when necessary.

“A shootout is for the fans, it’s not for the game,” Raatz said. “We’re asking the kids to play their hearts out for about 45 minutes or even 52 (minutes) if we’re playing 17-minute periods, and you win as a team and you lose as a team. I’m not going to sit down and say ‘OK, we’re putting our shooters one-on-one with people and losing a game.’ To me, it takes away from the effort of the kids during the three periods of play.

“Let’s play eight minutes (of overtime),” Raatz added. “If it’s tied, it’s tied, if we lose, we lose.”

Sam Lipps, a senior center for the Chippewas, said he would enjoy a chance to take part in shootouts but admits it can take away from the overall game.

Last December, the Chippewas outplayed Kenowa Hills at West Shore Community Ice Arena but couldn’t put the Knights away as the game went to overtime. That lasted just 14 seconds as Kenowa Hills scored on a breakaway for a 3-2 victory.

“It hurts,” Raatz said of a loss like that, “but I would just as soon lose a game like that than lose a game when someone is doing a shootout where they can put their showmanship on it. Leave it in the pros, keep it out of prep sports.”

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