After four years of the “Super Six,” the CCHA announced Wednesday that it will return to a four-team format for its 2006 postseason championship, which will be the 25th time the league has held its tournament championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The change restores the system used in 18 of the 24 years since the event was first held at the Joe in 1982. The six-team format has been in place for the past four years, including 2005; six teams also participated in 1993 and 1994.
The decision to re-implement the four-team format was made by the CCHA Council, which consists of athletic directors and faculty athletic representatives from the conference’s 12 members, during annual league meetings.
All 12 CCHA teams still qualify for the playoffs, with the top four seeds receiving a first-round bye. The first-round matchups, on March 3-5, will place No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8 in best-of-three series.
The first-round winners then go on the road to square off against the top four regular-season finishers in best-of-three quarterfinals on the weekend of March 10-12. The four successful quarterfinalists advance to Joe Louis Arena.
Teams are re-seeded after each round with seeding based upon regular-season standings.
Semifinal matchups are set for the Joe on Friday, March 17 with the winners advancing to the Mason Cup championship game the following night with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament at stake. Losing quarterfinalists will meet in a third-place game that precedes the championship.
Television broadcasts of both semifinals and the CCHA Championship game can be seen on FSN Detroit, and will be part of FSN’s second annual College Hockey Breakaway Weekend presentation.
The tournament championship has been awarded to six different schools since the Joe became the host arena for the event. Michigan State has captured 10 titles, including seven of the first nine years at the Joe from 1982-1990. Lake Superior dominated in the early 1990s by taking four out of five from 1991-95.
Michigan has hoisted the trophy seven times, including last year. Ohio State (2004), Bowling Green (1988) and Western Michigan (1986) have each won one CCHA championship in downtown Detroit.