The CCHA has changed its postseason tournament format to include all 12 of the conference’s teams, starting with the 2001-2002 season.
The top six finishers during the regular season will host a first-round, best-of-three series. The winners of the six first-round series will then advance to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA Championship where they will be re-seeded based upon their regular-season finish. The top two remaining seeds will receive quarterfinal-round byes while the No. 3 seed will face the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed will take on the No. 5 seed.
The two new quarterfinal-round games will take place on Friday, pushing the semifinals and championship game back to Saturday and Sunday. The lowest seed to advance from the quarterfinals will take on the No. 1 seed in the semifinals, while the No. 2 seed will play the other remaining team. The winners will then advance on to the CCHA Championship. The winner of the CCHA Tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Also, beginning in 2002-03, a new scheduling format will include placing schools into “rivalry pairings” when creating the schedule clusters.
The following will be used as the rivalry pairs:
Alaska-Fairbanks / Nebraska-Omaha
Bowling Green / Notre Dame
Ferris State / Western Michigan
Lake Superior / Northern Michigan
Miami / Ohio State
Michigan / Michigan State
The conference will continue to use the 28-game three-cluster format that was implemented two years ago to determine its regular-season champion. The teams will be divided into three clusters made up of two of the above pairings with each team playing the other three members of its cluster four times (twice at home and twice on the road).
Each team hosts two teams and visits the other two from each of the other clusters. While the schedule is esigned for two-game weekend series, some teams have taken advantage of the option to play home-and-home series when geographically possible.
The CCHA’s 2001-02 regular-season schedule will be announced later this spring.
Both formatting issues were passed unanimously by the league’s executive council, comprised of the CCHA athletic directors and faculty academic representatives, during the Spring Meetings this week in Naples, Fla.