Hockey East will change its playoff format for the upcoming 2018-19 season, according to sources. The league’s athletic directors voted this week to eliminate the first round of the Hockey East playoffs, meaning that the top-eight teams in the regular-season standings will qualify for the tournament and the bottom-three teams will be eliminated.
The quarterfinal format will remain the same, with teams seeded 1-4 hosting teams seeded 5-8 in best-of-three series. The tournament will then move to single-elimination semifinals and finals at TD Garden, per the existing format.
Last year, Hockey East qualified all 11 teams to the league tournament, with the top-five programs receiving first-round byes and a first round contested between teams 6-11 in the standings. Previous to that, when Notre Dame was in the league, Hockey East qualified all 12 teams.
This new format was last used by the league in 2012-13, when it had 10 teams. Essentially, the league is moving back to the format it used prior to its expansion in 2013 with UConn, and then Notre Dame.