The League Management Committee of National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) are delighted to confirm that there will be a National Playoff Championship weekend at the end of the 17/18 season.
Over the last two weekends the South and North clubs have met to agree membership of their leagues and playing format for the regular season.
The LMC can now confirm that the playoffs will take place over a four week period at the end of the regular season, culminating in a Playoff Weekend at a central venue.
In both NIHL North and South D1 the top eight teams will qualify for the playoffs. The first three rounds will be regionalised to achieve a North and South playoff champion.
The regional rounds will be a home and away two-legged, aggregate score tie.
The likely timetable will be:
Week 1 – Regional QF North 1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5. South 1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5
Week 2 – Regional SF North (1 or 8) v (4 or 5), (2 or 7) v (3 or 6). South (1 or 8) v (4 or 5), (2 v 7) v (3 v 6)
Week 3 – Regional Final North, Regional Final South
Week 4 – National Playoff Championship (weekend format)
The weekend will feature the two playoff finalists from NIHL North and South playing crossover semi finals on the Saturday, ie North 1 v South 2, South 1 v North 2. The Grand Final will face off on the Sunday.
There are likely to be other fixtures included in the weekend with more details to follow in due course as arrangements are firmed up.
The LMC are working hard with our stakeholders to confirm the date for this showpiece event – once everything is confirmed the details will be published via clubs and on EIHA media platforms.
An NIHL spokesperson said: “This is an exciting development to celebrate the first season of a massively expanded National League.
“A playoff weekend is a fantastic way to end the season, and a huge part of British hockey’s traditions. The LMC are delighted to be able to achieve a joined up, National Finals weekend.
“We are grateful to our clubs for their unanimous support for the idea over the past two weeks at the section meetings and the LMC will work hard to confirm all details as soon as possible.”