Finnerty: Time to change to best of three

Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty wants to see a move away from the aggregate system (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty believes it’s time for the Elite League to embrace a best of three series in play-off hockey.

The Canadian was speaking ahead of the Elite Series semi final clash with Sheffield Steelers clash, which will be settled over two legs.

But he’s hopeful if this competition finale goes to a third game, it will show just successful it could be if it was implemented here.

“It makes absolute sense for this league to get away from aggregate and go to a best of three series,” he said.

“It makes sense from the top four to get that financial incentive that they deserve.  The race for four, five and six goes all the way to the end.  If it means you play three in three, then so be it.

Storm having to get past Sheffield Steelers if they are to reach the Elite Series Final (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

“I think it’s something the players would like.  If you have a bad night, it’s not over.  It’s just a bad night then you come back the next night and go again, instead of having a bad night then getting cemented in the next game where you’re four goals down.

“I absolutely think this league has to move away from the aggregate and go with a three-game series.  I think the fans would love it, it makes commercial and financial sense.  From a professional standpoint, it makes sense and it’s easily done.

“I hope this final will show how exciting it can be.  To that end, I hope it can go to a game three and I think the buy-in from the fan base would be incredible.”

In a normal season, knockout cup ties are decided over two home and away legs, with the Challenge Cup final settled in one game, as are the play-off semi final and final.

Finnerty believes stretching to a five or seven game series may be a bit much, but reckons it could be worth a conversation if the climax of the Elite Series goes the distance, whoever is in it.

Ryan Finnerty believes a game three in Elite Series could open some eyes (PHOTO: Karl Denham)

“To go beyond three games, I think you’d need to look at the structure of the Elite League further,” he added. 

“If the way the arenas are set up and with time, where you get the Nottingham weekend done then the World Championships, a starting point could be a best of three then maybe move to the final four.

“It’s easy for me to put that forward without fully knowing what each building and each team are up against, but it’s got to be worth a heavy conversation.

“I think we’d be able to overcome the issues if it is to do with ice time.  I know you have to tender to the arenas, but the rewards outweigh the risk and with good planning, it’s worth doing.

“The fans are hungry, the buildings are full of energy and if you consider a potential winner-takes-all game three, for our league would be a big step forward.”

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