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Hockey Playoffs to be Held in Grand Rapids, Michigan

6 May, 2013


Western Collegiate Hockey Association Brings 'Final Five' Excitement

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association has announced its men's playoff championship, “the WCHA Final Five, “ will be at Van Andel Arena and the City of Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons and will return to Xcel Energy Center and the City of Saint Paul, Minn., for the 2014-15 and 2016-17 campaigns. Information was reported on the online version of the Examiner.

The league added to its listing of championship venues by unveiling both a new post-season playoff format for the upcoming 2013-14 season that will feature the top eight teams in the final regular season standings engaging in first-round, best-of-three playoff series at the home site of the top four finishers, followed by the four first-round winners advancing to the WCHA Playoff Championship the following weekend, which would consist of two semifinal games on the first day of the event followed by the Broadmoor Trophy title contest on day two. The dates of the 2014 WCHA Final Five at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids are March 21-22 (Friday/Saturday) with the return to Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul for the 2015 WCHA Playoff Championship set for March 20-21 (Friday/Saturday).

The WCHA tournament will follow the league's 140-game conference slate that will have each of the 10 teams playing 28 games, 14 at home and 14 away, with the regular season champion being awarded college hockey's most renowned and valuable trophy – the MacNaughton Cup. Each team will play five other league members four times each and four others two times each. The WCHA has had a 28-games per team conference schedule in place since 1997-98.

The WCHA Final Five will alternate between those two midwestern venues, with the newly-formed Big Ten Conference playing their post-season event at Xcel Energy Center every other year beginning in 2014. Xcel Energy Center has been home to the WCHA Final Five since 2001 and the WCHA has held a men's post-season tournament annually since 1959-60, although in a number of different formats.

Van Andel Arena, located in the heart of Grand Rapids, is a 10,834-seat multi-purpose arena that opened in October of 1996 and has since attracted over five million patrons. It serves as the home of the popular Grand Rapids Griffins ice hockey team, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, and has hosted NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Regionals in 1997, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009 in addition to numerous marquee concerts and shows. Van Andel Arena will also host the 2013 NCAA Men's Hockey West Regional on March 29-30.

The full story is available on http://www.examiner.com/article/wcha-alternates-playoff-sites-starting-2014.

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