The six members that will comprise the inaugural Big Ten hockey teams took a vote earlier this week to determine the format for the inaugural Big Ten hockey tournament in 2014. And being the new kids on the block, the conference will take a unique approach to its tournament.
The four lower-seeded teams will face each other in best two out of three series for the right to face the top two seeds the following week in single elimination format at the highest seeded team’s stadium. This is instead of the general NFL format for six teams where the bottom four seeds play each other in single elimination with the winners advancing to face the top teams.
One of the perceived advantages of this tournament setup is that it will enable the Big Ten to showcase some of its smaller, more historic hockey rinks rather than put the tournament in a professional stadium — like say the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., or Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio or Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Michigan’s Yost Arena and Michigan State’s Munn Arena are considerably smaller than Wisconsin’s Kohl Center or Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena. Both of those arenas, plus Ohio State’s Value City Arena, top 10,000 in capacity while Michigan and Michigan State can hold 6,000-8,000.
The Big Ten hockey tournament is not going to be about making money, but determining a champion.
It certainly should make for a good atmosphere. The much-anticipated Big Ten hockey begins play in 2013.