Now, I understand that Alabama-Huntsville had to become an independent this season after not being granted admission into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, but that's okay with me.
Here is how I think the Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship should be restructured as a result:
Five Division I conferences exist this season. Just five—so why bother with regional tournaments at all?
My guess is that it is still about money, so that's fine. If we're going with five conferences, four of them can host the regional parts of the tourney, and the fifth conference can host the Frozen Four.
The Frozen Four host can then rotate on a 5-year cycle. Nice.
Now to the team selections.
The playoff champion, runner-up and semi-final loser to the champion from each of the five conferences are admitted to the regional rounds, along with the other (conference) semi-final loser with the best regular season record.
Alabama-Huntsville can qualify if their record at the end of their season is better than that last team and 16 teams enter the national tournament, as before.
Since three teams from each region will be from a specific conference anyway, they will fill out the first three seeds in each of the four regions.
The fifth conference (hosting the Frozen Four) will split up its three entrants. The last spot is taken by the 16th admitted team.
Just picture it: this means there's a chance, if two long-time rivals are split up, that they can meet in the national championship game.
Spartans-Wolverines? Terriers-Eagles? I like the possibilities.
While we're at it, one more thing: might as well schedule that championship final at the nearest football stadium.
What. A. Spectacle.
Might even make for a Cold War III.
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