The WCHA announced today that they will have a new playoff format. The league will host a tournament spanning three weekends, with best-of-three series for the quarterfinal and semifinal round, followed by a single game for the conference championship, with all series hosted on the home ice of the higher seed.
The league was rumored to examine both this playoff format, and having the top seed in the playoffs host the three remaining teams on the final weekend, before deciding this format was the most financially viable.
This playoff format makes a lot of a sense, and is something I've argued in favor of for quite some time. The combination of geographically diverse conferences, and fan bases that aren't big enough for that type of travel make centrally-located conference tournament finals a disappointing proposition.
This is just a better format from a hockey standpoint too. Single elimination, neutral site hockey is awful. This format actually looks like real playoff hockey. It also provides much more advantage to the top overall seed--a bigger deal now that it is no guarantee a conference champion gets an NCAA bid. The championship game is still single elimination, but there were other considerations at hand with the winner having to play in the NCAA Tournament the following weekend.
Overall, a good move for the league and one that makes a lot of sense. Hopefully it catches on elsewhere in college hockey.