Future WCHA playoff format changed, and it's a good thing

Doyle Woody

Just got off the phone with UAA athletic director Steve Cobb, who said athletics directors in what next season will be the revamped WCHA today voted to amend the league's playoff format, which was to have had UAA and UAF meeting in the first round of the postseason no matter where those teams ended up in the standings.

Under the revised format, Cobb said, UAA and UAF will in the first round be seeded by the traditional means -- that is, whatever place they finished in the regular season.

That's a smart move that makes the playoffs legitimate.

Under the initial plan that had UAA and UAF playing the first round no matter where they finished, there was the prospect of those teams finishing high in the standings and yet having to play one another or low in the standings and having to play one another. Other than saving travel costs, it made no sense. Not only that, but there was the prospect of other teams not getting the playoff opponents they deserved.

Cobb also said only the top eight teams in the revamped, 10-team WCHA will qualify for the playoffs. That's a delicious change from the current format in the 12-team league, where everyone makes the playoffs.

Good move. You finish last or next to last in your league and you don't deserve a postseason chance. You deserve to sit at home and try to figure out how to get better. The real reason the current WCHA lets everyone in the playoffs is $ -- teams that have big buildings and are usually very good (Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, etc.) generate tremendous revenue from the first round, and that revenue is shared in the league. The revamped WCHA won't include those teams and will be filled with teams that have smaller rinks and draw smaller crowds.

Look for more on this story in Saturday's dead-trees edition of the ADN or online later today at adn.com/sports

Doyle Woody -- dwoody@adn.com