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Altering the Format


By Fred Wallace


Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

There is clamouring in several Ontario Hockey League centers to alter the playoff format and replace the existing post season method with a 1 through 16 concept.

While I don't share the spoken , maybe outspoken, request, I do see merit in the proposal.

By going, 1-16, 2-15, 3-14, etc and then re-seeding from top to bottom after each playoff round, the belief is the best 2 OHL clubs will advance to the Robertson Cup Championship.

The best of the best storyline is deemed to be superior to the existing concept whereby the Eastern Conference Playoff Champion faces the Western Conference Playoff Champion in the league final.

The issue in contemporary times, essentially over the last decade and a half, isn't the format, but rather that the East winner has become cannon fodder for the Western Champions who have taken the OHL crown all but 2 times in the last 15 YEARS.

Ironically, the Owen Sound Attack are part of the thrust from those seeking change.

Outsiders feel the Attack, with a very good club this year, could be a first round casualty in the highly competitive Western Conference.

I don't disagree, but still I'm content with the existing format.

First, if you remember the 1998 playoffs there was a re-seeding format that pitted Owen Sound against...........Ottawa.

It was a decent series, but how much did it cost to compete ? And keep in mind, the Attack are a business, a small business at that, where cost has to be examined at every turn.

Second, even if the Attack do get eliminated early, maybe even in the first round, the opposition this year will be familiar; Windsor, Soo, maybe Erie or God forbid, London.

Again, being eliminated in the playoffs by a long term conference rival might suck, but it's vastly better at the box office than a costly re-seed that might pit Owen Sound against most Eastern based teams.

I'm Fred Wallace

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