SPHL's Revolutionary New Playoff Format

     On Monday, the Southern Professional Hockey League, a minor league based in Huntersville, North Carolina, announced a new playoff format to be enacted immediately.  As per their old regulations, the top eight teams of the ten team league will make the postseason, but the first round will now be markedly different.
     Referred to now as the "Challenge Round", the first round of the playoffs will now allow the top three seeded teams to chose their opponents from seeds five through eight.  The top seeded team will get first pick of opponent, followed by the second and third, with the fourth seed facing the remaining team.  The opening round will be a best-of-three series, and allows teams to pick an opponent they think they are more suited to face, regardless of the seeding.  The potential for this system is astounding, as it could arise to some phenomenal postseason rivalry matches, and could lead to back-to-back postseason grudge matches with teams looking to avenge a loss from the previous season. 
     After the Challenge Round, traditional seeding determines the rest of the playoffs, with the highest seeded team facing the lowest, with the winner of the best-of-three series going on to the President's Cup Finals, which itself is best-of-three.  While it is impossible to predict what sort of impact the new playoff system will have on the postseason, it's exciting to see a league trying to shake up the traditional postseason format, and could pave the way for other leagues to follow suit.
SPHL's Revolutionary New Playoff Format Reviewed by TC Moore on October 18, 2017 Rating: 5

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