Hockey East Approves New Playoff Format
CHN Staff Report
Hockey East athletic directors voted earlier this week to approve a new playoff system for the league, two coaching sources tell College Hockey News.
Under the new format, all 12 teams will qualify for the postseason once Notre Dame and Connecticut join the league in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The top four teams will earn first-round byes while the bottom eight teams will participate in a one-game playoff to determine a field of eight (5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9).
The four first-round winners will advance to best-of-three quaterfinal series the following weekend, which will be played at the higher seed's site. Those four winners will will advance to the league's traditional one-game semifinal and championship games.
This coming season, when Notre Dame joins the league as its 11th team, all 11 teams will qualify for the postseason, with the top five teams earning first-round byes. The bottom six teams will then compete in a one-game playoff (6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9) to narrow the field to eight teams for the best-of-three quarterfinal series.