May 13, 2014
The University of Connecticut men's hockey program is set to begin play in Hockey East in 2014-15, becoming the league's 12th member. The league announced earlier this week that during their recent meeting in Naples, Florida, they have approved an expansion of its playoff format.
The league's athletic directors voted to include all 12 institutions in the post-season tournament. On a second vote, the directors voted to utilize a "Best-of-Three" format in both the opening round of play as well as the quarterfinal round. Those rounds, played at campus sites, precede the Hockey East championship weekend that will again be hosted by the TD Garden in Boston next year.
"The directors heard from the coaches that the best time of the year for the athletes is playoff time and the coaches made a strong argument for increasing those playing opportunities for the students," said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. "The inclusion of a fifth-place team in the opening round may also have been a factor."
This past season, as Hockey East welcomed the University of Notre Dame as its 11th member institution, the conference directed an 11-school tournament, with teams #6 through #11 paired off in a single game opening round format. The three winners joined the teams seeded #1 through #5 to make up an 8-team quarterfinal field. In 2015, the Hockey East post-season will look like this:
2015 Hockey East Men's Tournament
Friday-Sunday, March 6-8: Best-of-Three Opening Round Play on Campus
(#5 hosts #12, #6 hosts #11, #7 hosts #10, #8 hosts #9)
Friday-Sunday, March 13-15: Best-of-Three Quarterfinal Round Play on Campus
(Schools #1 - #4 host four opening round winners, highest vs. lowest, etc.)
Friday, March 20 at TD Garden: Semifinal Games
Saturday, March 21 at TD Garden: Championship Game