New format decides BCHL final

The chase for the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup championship begins March 4.

Three of the four rounds are best-of-seven matchups, with the opening round pitting seeds one versus four and two versus three.

Round three is a six-game round robin tournament with each division winner hosting two games. The objective is to eliminate one club based on wins and losses. After the completion of those games, the remaining two teams will meet in a best-of-seven Fred Page Cup Final. In the event teams are tied after the six round-robin games, a tie-breaker game will determine which team goes to the finals. Tie-breaker rules for the round-robin are the same as those used in the BCHL regular-season standings.

Penticton Vees forward Steen Cooper expects the playoffs to be exciting because it’s a different kind of hockey. Cooper said the round-robin format could create new rivalries.

“Especially in playoffs when emotions are so high,” said Cooper, who has one assist in seven playoff games with the Cowichan Valley Capitals in 2011-12. “There is so much on the line. There is definitely a whole new aspect of emotion and rivalries that come into play. That should bring the best out in everybody this year.”

Vees coach Fred Harbinson doesn’t have an opinion on it.

“We’re getting closer and closer to hopefully clinching one of those spots,” said Harbinson, prior to his team clinching a berth. “There were a lot of different crazy ideas brought forth last summer.”

Harbinson also said he’s not sure if the round-robin format will spark new rivalries heading into the league championship.

“I hope we have a problem of being involved in that thing,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of work to get to that point. There’s a lot of other great teams in our division that want to play in that round robin.”

Harbinson said it’s a challenge as the league tries to find ways of eliminating travel. It’s just about finding an answer that is fair to everyone and the Vees are just as interested as other teams to see how it will work.


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