The biggest planned discussion for this year’s coaches’ meetings in college hockey was the hotly debated overtime rules in the sport.
That hasn’t been decided quite yet. However, Hockey East has an important change of its own.
Starting with the 2018-19 season, Hockey East will remove its octofinal round of the Hockey East Tournament, USCHO’s Jimmy Connelly reported Wednesday.
Revised playoff format will eliminate bye weeks at season’s end and will also allow the regular season to run one week longer. This is a return to the pre-Notre Dame/UConn playoff format. Puts more emphasis on the regular season. @USCHO— Jimmy Connelly (@jimmyconnelly) April 25, 2018
While I personally have liked the all-teams-make-it format, it was long past time to change it. Attendance at octo-final games has been pitiful, and the overall interest in the tournament has reached an all-time-low, with tournament games drawing fewer and fewer fans. Perhaps more meaningful (and better!) games will bring interest back to the tournament.
That said, there was merit to the old format. While an argument can be made that three teams being eliminated from the post season off the bat creates a bigger emphasis on the regular season, giving the top teams in the league a bye week has merit as well.
Ultimately it was a format that needed to be changed, and this appears to be a good move by the league. Now implement ten minute three-on-three overtime and we can be on our merry way.