Goodbye to the WCHA Final Five.
The WCHA men’s hockey league is moving its postseason showcase out of the large arenas and into a new on-campus playoff that league officials hope will create more fan excitement, better financial stability and a longterm foundation for growth.
Beginning next season, the 10-team WCHA will roll out a playoff blueprint that will have four best-of-three quarterfinal series' hosted by the conference’s top four regular-season finishers, followed by two best-of-three semifinal series' on the campus' of the highest remaining seeds.
The WCHA championship game will be a single game hosted by the highest seed.
"There is no greater thrill for hockey fans than watching their favorite team play for a championship on home ice,”WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson said. “Much of what makes the WCHA so special are our passionate fan bases and fantastic in-arena atmospheres, which will only be heightened in a playoff series or in a single game with a championship and NCAA Tournament berth on the line."
It was just a couple of years ago that the WCHA Final Five was one of the biggest college hockey tournaments in the country, but the league is still dealing with the hit it took when it lost Minnesota and North Dakota in realignment two years ago.
This playoff change also ends a nearly three decade long tradition of hosting the conference tournament semifinals and championship game at a neutral site.