The B.C. Hockey League’s new playoff format doesn’t really add up, but it just might work.
The league announced its plans for the 2012-13 post-season this week following the governors’ annual general meeting in Richmond.
Coastal Conference teams will have to win three series to reach the final, while Interior Conference teams will have to win only two series.
Coastal teams such as the Nanaimo Clippers will have to win two best-of-five series, then win a best-of-seven to advance to the Fred Page Cup. Interior teams including the defending-champion Penticton Vees will have to win two best-of-seven series to reach the final.
All the teams knew that changes were coming. The BCHL had announced earlier this year that it was moving to three divisions in order to strengthen regional rivalries and reduce travel.
“Having made that decision, obviously the next most difficult decision was how to get three divisions into a final series,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach and general manager. “Considering the challenge, I think it’s fair.”
Having to win 10 playoff games instead of eight is obviously more difficult, but Mike Vandekamp said the flipside is that it amounts to some extra revenue opportunities for teams.
Making the playoffs also gets a little easier, as 12 of the BCHL’s 16 teams will qualify for the post-season.
Another rule change approved by the governors this week is a slight change to roster size. Teams will now be allowed a 22-man roster, up from last season’s 21-man roster.
“I think we’ve finally found a perfect number,” said Vandekamp. “Twenty-two gives us one extra player at both forward and defence. It limits the number of players that should be healthy scratches and keeps kids playing the game.”
Another rule change is that players with damaged pants may now be penalized. The reason for the rule is mostly just to keep players looking neat and tidy.
Governors discussed preventing line changes after icing calls, but no official announcement was made. More detailed roster composition rules may also be coming.