ECHL Announces schedule, new divisions and Kelly Cup format

Posted: 2009/06/30 by Mike in Offseason News
Tags: , ,

We’ll have to wait until Oct 24th to see the 2009-2010 Cyclones in regular season action at USBA. The ECHL posted the schedule and the ‘Clones will play their 1st three games on the road, opening in Elmira on Oct 16th, then it’s off to Johnstown and Wheeling before playing a game at home. As of this posting the schedule hasn’t been posted on the Cyclones website yet and could still change because of the multi-use nature of USBA, but I would imagine it won’t change too much.

The ECHL Board of Governors also approved a new Divisions and Kelly Cup Playoff format. The Cyclones will be joined by the Wheeling Nailers, Toledo Walleye and the Kalamazoo Wings in the new American Conference, North Division. The Johnstown Chiefs, Elmira Jackals, Reading Royals, and Trenton Devils will make up the American Conference, East Division. The American Conference, South Division, as well as both National Conference Divisions are unchanged for the most part.

It’s hard to guess what to expect out of the North Division. I would assume Toledo will play the same goonish style of hockey they always do. Will the K-Wings show up with IHL or ECHL talent? What kind of talent will Wheeling bring in from their affiliates? The same goes of the Cyclones. we’ll have to wait for October to find out for sure……

If you haven’t taken the time to read the new Kelly Cup format, it will certainly make things interesting come playoff time, since 2 teams from the same Division could meet in the Conference Finals. My only complaint is the regular season winner of the National Conference gets a 1st round bye and could win the Kelly Cup with 3 fewer wins than any other team in the league.  Fewer games means fewer chances to become injured and less fatigue; why should only a National Conference team get this advantage? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the 6th and 7th place teams play a best of 3 series rather than give the 1st place team a bye? By my count it takes 11 wins for an American Conference team to make the Kelly Cup finals; with a 1st round bye, the 1st place National Conference team could make it with only 8. If the 6th and 7th place teams played a best of 3 series they would have to win 13 games and everyone else would have to win 11. This seems much more appropriate given how much easier it is to make the playoffs in the National Conference with 7 of the 8 teams getting in versus 8 out 12 for the American Conference, but that’s just my 2-cents……


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