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Hockey East Announces New Postseason Tournament Format

Welcome back, bottom-seeds!

2021 Hockey East Championships - Final Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

Today, the Hockey East Association announced it would have a new format for the postseason tournament, beginning in 2022 for both the men’s and women’s leagues.

In this new format, all programs in Hockey East (11 for the men, 10 for the women) will make the Hockey East tournament and be able to compete for the conference crown. In addition, all tournament games will be single-elimination.

On the men’s side, the 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds will host the 11th, 10th, and 9th seeds, while the top 5 seeds will get a bye into the quarterfinals. Teams will be re-seeded heading into the quarterfinal round, as well as every other round like they have been in past years.

On the women’s side, the 7th and 8th seeds will host the 10th and 9th seeds, while the top 6 seeds will get a bye into the quarterfinals. Same as the men, teams will be re-seeded each round.

What changed?

Previously, the Hockey East tournament would only allow the conference’s top-8 regular season teams compete in the postseason tourney, both on the men’s and women’s side. Now every team in the conference will have something to fight for come March, so the Merrimacks and UVMs of the world will have something to look forward to after often playing in meaningless games at the end of recent seasons.

Another change is the addition of single-elimination in earlier rounds. Previously, the quarterfinals were a best-of-3 series. This may allow for more chaos as it becomes likelier for lower-seeded teams to beat conference powers in earlier rounds.