clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Final Five Keeping Its Name

New, comments

The WCHA will be expanding to 12 teams next season, and thus will have to change its playoff, but according to USCHO's Todd Milewski those changes will be minimal. The first round format will stay the same, with all 12 teams participating and six advancing on to St. Paul. The second round of the tournament will still be called The Final Five, but will now refer to the number of games played, rather than the number of teams in the tournament.

The only real change is that there will now be two Thursday games, and there will no longer be a third-place consolation game. I doubt anyone will be sad to see the consolation game go. It wasn't that popular to begin with, and with the new format, it meant there would be two teams playing three games in as many days.

The real decision that has to be made is whether the two Thursday games will be on one ticket, or if the WCHA can continue to get away with selling tickets to each individual game. I was once one of the seven people in attendance at the puck drop of Thursday afternoon CCHA playoff game, so I know how brutal attendance can be, but the WCHA is a little different. My guess is they try separate tickets for the first year and see just how many people they can get.

Overall, it's the most logical conclusions. The Final Five is a huge cash cow and there's no need to shake things up too much. Ideally, I think the CCHA's three week playoff is a better, or at least more exciting playoff format. You get eight home series, where the atmosphere is better than a neutral site, you get more three-game series, which provide less variance than one-and-done games, and the match-ups are better-- #5 vs. #12 and #1 vs. #8 would both likely be more exciting than watching #1 clobber #12.

The problem, of course, is that it requires an extra week out of the season, which isn't going to happen. You'd either have to shorten the conference schedule(people are already unhappy they'll be seeing the big names in their arena less often), take away non-conference games(people are already unhappy there's so little flexibility with non-conference schedules), or convince the NCAA to start the season a week earlier, which is the most logical, since teams are already skating the first week of October and you're only adding a handful of games for a few teams to the season with an extra week of playoffs, but apparently that's something that won't be done.