The Elite Ice Hockey League is to adopt an innovative way of determining the quarter-final matchups for the Challenge Cup – allowing the group winners from the round robin stage to choose their own opponent.
“We wanted to find a way to make the group stages of the Challenge Cup as meaningful as possible, and to reward the group winners.” Elite League Chairman Tony Smith said.
“This change will do that, whilst also adding an extra element to the competition.
“Those top seeded teams will really need to think about who they want to face in the quarter-finals, who they think they will match up well against.
“Equally those teams chosen as the opponents won’t want to be seen as some kind of ‘weak link’ – it will give them an extra point to prove as they look to progress in the competition themselves.
“We think this will create a real buzz among fans, as they too weigh up each potential matchup. We have seen other leagues, such as the EBEL and Metal Ligaen, use similar ideas and the Elite League is proud to join them at the cutting edge in this way.”
The three group winners will be seeded 1 to 3.
The other five qualifiers (three group runners up and the two best third placed teams) will be seeded 4 to 8.
Seedings will be determined based on the Elite League’s normal criteria – namely:
2. Regulation Wins
3. Total Wins
Should two teams still be equal after following the above criteria, details of the full list of EIHL table criteria can be found here
Sheffield Steelers have already secured the first seed, Milton Keynes Lightning the second seed and Belfast Giants the third seed.
Seeds 4 to 8 will be finalised following Nottingham Panthers group game against Manchester Storm on November 25th 2017, but the remaining qualifiers have been confirmed as (in alphabetical order):
The first seed will choose who they want to play in the quarter-finals from seeds 4 to 8 – this will form the first quarter-final matchup (QF1)
The second seed will then chooses their opponent from the remaining teams seeded 4 to 8 – this will form the second quarter-final matchup (QF2)
The third seed will then chooses their opponent from the remaining teams seeded 4 to 8 – this will form the third quarter-final matchup (QF3)
The fourth highest remaining seed will then be matched up with the other remaining team to form the fourth and final quarter-final matchup (QF4)
The higher seed in each quarter-final matchup will have the choice of whether they have a home or away second leg.
Teams will select their opponents at the EIHL league meeting in Nottingham on Tuesday November 28th 2017. Further details to follow.
The semi-final stage of the competition will then see the winner of QF1 face the winner of QF4, and the winner of QF2 face the winner of QF3
The higher seed in each semi-final will have the choice of whether they have a home or away second leg.
THE CHALLENGE CUP FINAL
The Challenge Cup Final will take place at Ice Arena Wales, Cardiff on Sunday March 4th 2018.
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