Saturday, March 20, 2010

End of an Era: Final Five

The changes previewed this past season are now official concerning the Final Five along with some unexpected changes that start tonight.

Starting with the unexpected, at least for us here at the HighHorse, is that UMD is the last team to win the old Broadmoor Trophy. Starting tonight, a new Broadmoor Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the WCHA Tournament. The new trophy is a cast likeness of the Broadmoor Hotel which hosted 11 NCAA Ice Hockey Championships between 1948 and 1969 in their Broadmoor World Arena along with being the home ice of the Colorado College Tigers.

The main part of the announcement was to confirm the format of next year’s Final Five. The name will remain, but instead of referring to five teams, it now describes the five games in Saint Paul for the WCHA Playoff Championship. The WCHA achieves this change by adding a game to Thursday’s quarterfinals and eliminating the third place game.

The first round will not look unfamiliar from other years. All WCHA members will enter the first round and top six seeds will play at home in best-of-three weekend matches. After the first round, the Final Five will again commence at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.

Starting next year the six teams in the Final Five will be placed into brackets prior to the weekend starting. The Gopher Rule is still in place and the brackets will be made to have the Gophers playing in the late game Thursday and Friday if they make it in both rounds. The Gopher Rule was created to bolster attendance.

The new schedule at the Final Five is to have two games on Thursday tentatively starting at 4pm and the second at 7:30pm. Team #3 will play team #6 and Team #4 will play Team #5. There will be one ticket needed for both games of the session and just as other years, the losers are out of the tournament.

Friday’s games will look the same as other year’s with a 2:00pm game and a 7:00pm game. There are separate admission tickets for each of the games. New to the Friday games is that the loser of each game is done for the tournament with the elimination of the third place game.

Saturday will then only have the Broadmoor WCHA Championship game.

Additionally, representatives from the new WCHA teams, Bemidji State and Nebraska – Omaha, spoke about their excitement to join the league and to be in Saint Paul next year for the Final Five. Only time will tell who is at the X next year.

Rankings and A Prayer. Jayson Moy of USCHO stated in his blog:

If Maine wins Hockey East or Union wins the ECAC or Michigan wins the CCHA or RIT wins Atlantic Hockey or Ferris State wins, Minn.-Duluth is eliminated. Yikes.
Sacred Heart has won already tonight and Michigan is on their way to winning. With 10 minutes left in the third Michigan 2, NMU 0.

Thinking about a season wrap article…

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