CCHA Revamps Playoff Format
The CCHA has
scrapped its current playoff structure in favor of a three-round
format that awards first-round byes to the top four finishers
in the regular season standings and cuts the number of teams that
advance to Detroit from six to four.
change, which goes into effect next season, was approved by the
league’s athletic directors at last week’s conference
meetings in Florida.
State won the CCHA Super Six championship in 2004. Starting
next season, only four teams will advance to Joe Louis Arena
for the league semifinals and finals.
revised format, which resembles the ECACHL format and will shorten
the league’s regular season by a week, teams No. 5 through
8 will host Nos. 9 through 12 in first-round, best-of-three series.
The winners would move on to the second round, where they would
face the league’s top four finishers in best-of-three series
– league officials haven’t determined whether they’ll
adhere to a straight bracket or re-seed teams following the first
round. The four second-round winners head to Joe Louis Arena for
the conference semifinals and finals.
still a lot of jockeying in those 7, 8, 9 and 10 spots,”
Ohio State coach John Markell said. “It’ll keep everybody
interested…it’ll keep the fans interested. I think
this format will provide opportunities for teams.”
of the past four seasons, the top six teams in the conference
standings would host the bottom six finishers in best-of-three,
first-round series. The winners moved to Detroit the following
week for the CCHA Super Six – the top two teams to advance
earned automatic byes into the semifinal round while the four
remaining teams met in play-in games.
old format gave more teams a chance to play at Joe Louis Arena
– since 2002, nine of the league’s 12 members appeared
at the Super Six. The rub, however, was dismal attendance at Thursday’s
quarterfinal games. An announced crowd of 3,436 showed up for
this year’s matches featuring Alaska-Fairbanks against Northern
Michigan and Michigan State against Nebraska-Omaha. Eyewitnesses
pegged the actual attendance closer to 2,000.
the CCHA's new three-round playoff system would've looked
ROUND (best-of-three series)
12 Notre Dame at No. 5 Bowling Green
No. 11 Ferris State at No. 6 Michigan State
No. 10 Western Michigan at No. 7 Miami
No. 9 Lake Superior State at No. 8 Alaska-Fairbanks
1 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Northern Michigan and
No. 4 Nebraska-Omaha would have earned first-round byes.
wanted more student-athletes to experience going to Joe Louis
Arena,” Markell said. “It’s a great experience
to get to Joe Louis…but you have to look at it atmosphere-wise.
It wasn’t very conducive to fans getting there [for quarterfinal
games] and a lot of fans would wait to see what would happen on
12-team ECACHL has had a similar playoff system in place for three
seasons. Supporters of the format feel it provides incentives
to the teams in the lower two-thirds of the league standings,
rewards the top four finishers for strong regular-season showings
and helps the top teams can improve their NCAA Tournament hopes
by avoiding first-round games against the four lowest seeds.