The ECAC West will be changing to a three round playoff format starting with the upcoming 2006-2007 season. The league’s athletic directors approved the change unanimously on June 15.
Under the new format, five of the league’s six teams will make the playoffs, which will consist of three single-elimination rounds. The first round will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007 when the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 seed. The winner of the first game will travel to take on the No. 1 seeded team on Saturday, Feb. 24, while the No.2 seed team will host the No. 3 seed on the same date.
The winners of the two semi-final games will meet in the championship game on Saturday, March 3, at the rink of the highest remaining seed.
“I applaud the athletic directors and coaches for approving this new five team playoff format.” said interim ECAC Commissioner Stephen R. Bamford. “The new format will benefit the student-athletes and coaching staffs of a fifth team by giving them a playoff experience. Host institutions and the league will also benefit with the new format because there is a longer period of time in between games allowing for more marketing and promotion of the playoff games. Our hope is that a greater atmosphere, in terms of more fans and coverage, will be developed under this new format.”
The new playoff format provides several benefits to the league. Expanding the field to five teams allows more student athletes to participate in the playoff experience. Also, at least three schools, and potentially up to four schools, will now be able to host a playoff game in a single season, generating more opportunities for students to attend the games. Under the old playoff format, the No. 1 seeded school hosted a final-four format over a single weekend.