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02/25/2013 6:13 PM -
With an all-time high of 22 teams across four divisions, the 2013 Western States Hockey League regular season has been one of the most exciting in league history. Although it’s winding down, the playoffs are on the horizon and if you enjoyed the regular season, you’ll love the all-new playoff format/schedule.
The top four teams in each division (Midwest, Mountain, Northwest and Pacific) are eligible for the post-season and each division will play down to one champion.
Over the weekend of March 15-17, the #1 seed in each division will play host to the #4 seed and the #2 seed will do the same to the #3 seed. Each series will be a best-of-three format, with all three games being played on the home ice of the higher seeded team.
After the opening weekend of playoffs, the two teams left in each division will meet for the division title over the weekend of March 22-24, with the higher seeded team again hosting the lower seeded team in a best-of-three series.
By the end of the day on March 24, four division champions will be crowned and all four will converge on McCall, Idaho, the last weekend in March (28-31) for the 2013 Thorne Cup Finals, along with the host team, the Idaho Jr. Steelheads and a wildcard team (which has still yet to be selected/determined.)
Should the Jr. Steelheads also win their division, the team they defeat in the divisional finals will be invited to McCall, as well.
The exact format has yet to be determined but the Thorne Cup Finals will be comprised of some type of round-robin format, followed by seeding, with the teams playing down to a champion on Sunday.
The following weekend, April 5-9, the top two teams in the WSHL will then head to Las Vegas, Nevada for the United Hockey Union (Amateur Athletic Union) National Championships at the Las Vegas Ice Center. Joining the top two teams out of the Thorne Cup Finals will be the top two squads from both the Midwest Junior Hockey League and Northern States Hockey League.
The six teams that make it to the national championships will be placed in two flights of three (round-robin format), with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals and eventually two teams playing in the title game for the right to be crowned UHU Champion.