Congratulations go to the Cardiff Devils, who have clinched the 2016/17 Elite League title. Though, with the playoffs still to come, there is still plenty to play for this season!
As the season comes to a finish, you will hear fans talk about the ‘regular season’, ‘seedings’, ‘playoffs’ and ‘final four’! With the ice-hockey season a lot different to other sports, here is your guide to what happens next..
The Cardiff Devils have won the Elite League regular season title. After one of the most competitive seasons to date, the Welsh side are 7 points clear following 50 games played and, with only 2 games remaining, they lift the Monteith Bowl – awarded to the regular season champions. The Giants currently sit 2nd on 72 points – the same number of points the 2015/16 Elite League champion had in total!
The final two games of the regular season sees the Elite League’s top 2 sides battle it out in Wales with the Giants travelling to Cardiff for back-to-back games nest Saturday and Sunday. Despite the Devils having already clinched the championship, these games are still important for the seedings for Playoffs…
After the regular season ends, there is another championship up for grabs – the Playoffs! The Elite League’s top 8 teams qualify for the Playoffs, meaning the sides finishing 9th and 10th miss out. Those top 8 sides are then seeded #1-#8 for the Playoffs which begins with 4 Quarter Final games. The side seeded #1 will play the side seeded #8, #2 vs #7, #3 vs #6 and #4 vs #5. The Quarter Final takes place across two legs, decided by aggregate score. The Giants will play their home leg on Saturday 1st April. The winners of each of those Quarter Final games will advance to the Final Four weekend..
Without doubt, this is the best weekend of the Elite League season with 7,500 ice-hockey fans made up of fans from all 10 teams packed into Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th April. The 4 Quarter Final winners are then re-seeded based on regular season league position and, on Saturday 8th April, #1 plays #4 and #2 plays #3 in 2 action packed Semi-Finals with the 2 winners advancing to the Playoff Grand Final and the 2 losers playing in the 3rd/4th Playoff – both on Sunday 9th April. Now, about those seedings…
Despite the Quarter Final stage of the Playoffs throwing up #1 vs #8, #2 vs #7 and so on…the seedings do not always follow the final regular season league positions. The Cardiff Devils, as Elite League regular season champion, take #1 seed however even though the Giants sit in 2nd place, as it stands the Belfast side would not take #2 seed. That is because the Braehead Clan would take #2 seed as winners of the Gardiner Conference. The only way that can change would be if the league champions (Devils) did not win their respective conference (Erhardt) – in which case that conference winner would take the #2 seed.
Confused? Hang in there! The only way the Giants can take #2 seed would be if they won both remaining games against the Devils in regulation time, meaning they would win the Erhardt Conference title. If they did so, the Braehead Clan would take the #3 seed and if not, the Glasgow side would take the #2 seed. After the top 3 seeds are decided – the remaining #4-#8 Playoff seedings are determined based on league position. As it stands, with one weekend of the regular season remaining, the Playoff Quarter Finals would look like this:
(#1) Cardiff Devils vs Coventry Blaze (#8)
(#2) Braehead Clan vs Dundee Stars (#7)
(#3) Stena Line Belfast Giants vs Fife Flyers (#6)
(#4) Sheffield Steelers vs Nottingham Panthers (#5)
Still confused? Clear as mud? Don’t worry – as soon as the Playoff Quarter Finals are confirmed following the final regular season games on Sunday, we will have the info right here at www.BelfastGiants.com!
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) March 19, 2017