Bring Back the Hockey Rover (At least for a tryout)

As a lover of historical sports trivia (more than I love sports, in fact), I was recently intrigued to learn (or, rather, re-learn) about the “rover” position in professional hockey).

This extra player, who wasn’t a defenceman, wasn’t a forward, and certainly wasn’t a goalie, “roved” wherever he was needed in the game. He was the seventh man behind the “Ottawa Silver Seven”.

And he last played for the NHA (the precursor to the NHL) in 1910. Although the Pacific Coat Hockey Association and the Western Canada Hockey League maintained the rover until 1923, the fact is that a seven-man hockey has never been televised, and probably never been broadcast over radio.

I would be interested in seeing what would happen if we brought the rover position back to hockey. How would it change the game? What new strategies would be brought into play? Would it slow the game down that much?

Given that the NHL is hosting outdoor “Hockey Classics” celebrating the early days of hockey, I think it would be fun if they played at least one of these special games under the old rover player rules. Or maybe we could do the All Star Game. What do you all think?

Further Reading

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