Leagues Moving Championship Series Home

Could moving league playoffs onto campus sites lead to eventual NCAA hockey playoffs on home ice as well?

In a recent article, WCHA Moves Entire Postseason on Campus, the WCHA is looking to hold all of its postseason games on campus sites – starting with the 2016-17 season. The league was originally scheduling their tournament at the ‘neutral’ Minneapolis Xcel Center. The quarterfinals will remain four best-of-3 series, as they have been. But now, the semifinals will also be a best-of-3 on-campus series – hosted by the two highest remaining seeds.

The championship will still be a single game, the weekend following the semis, hosted by the highest remaining seed.

Then, two days ago, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune the Big Ten hockey conference is in the process of approving a new format for its conference tournament that would move games to on-campus sites beginning in 2018 as well, a source close to the Big Ten confirmed to the Star Tribune. The tournament would be played over the course of three weekends like the WCHA and feature three best-of-three quarterfinal round series, two single-game semifinals, and one championship game. All games will be hosted on campus of the highest seed.

One has to conclude that the NCHC, DU’s current conference, is contemplating the same thing – to reduce travel costs and increase game attendance.

An intriguing option is bringing the final Championship games together for the WCHA, NCHC, and Big 10 to the same venue for a Championship Final weekend. Spectators could see three conference championship games determined in one weekend at the same venue. That would certainly be an interesting option to bundle two or three championships together.

But Longer term, could this signal an end to the neutral arena NCAA playoff games that are often played in empty rinks? Let’s hope so.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Leagues Moving Championship Series Home”

  1. I’m not too keen on the multi-league championship weekend theory, but I LOVE the home ice concept. Whatever team ends up on top, dammit….they deserve home ice and so do thier fans! I am tired of everything funneling to Minnesota for a championship game. They way it is now, with the NCHC, you could easily have DU and UNO or even ASU, playing in Minneapolis….with not one team from MN even playing. That sucks for the people in other cities who fiercly support thier team all year, then wont or cannot go to the championship in Minnesota.

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  2. I am not a fan of league playoffs, in general, as we already have a regular season to determine league finish. The Minnesota-centric nature of the former WCHA and current NCHC playoffs certainly don’t help Denver fans very much, and the Pios will always be at disadvantage playing there. I also don’t like the potential for more injury right before the NCAA tournament, and after a grueling meat-grinder of a regular season.

    That said, the modern purpose of league tourney to create revenue for the league itself, to cover the operating cost of that league – league office salaries, officiating costs, marketing, etc.. Without that revenue stream, the schools within each league will need to supply most of the league’s budget, which in turn, hurts our own budgets. While it’s always more fun for home fans to see their own teams, if league tourneys must exist, I am for the playoff format that delivers more revenue to the league, so that our own hockey budgets are not compromised.

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    1. I wish the NCHC would experiment a little with the location of the Frozen Faceoff. My wife and I have attended all three FF’s thus far and with each year, they’ve fine tuned the event and it’s gotten better and better. The twin cities are an excellent host but I wonder what the event could be like if they tried it in Omaha, Denver, or gasp, a non-league city such as Las Vegas?

      Liked by 1 person

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