Following Sunday’s announcement that Hull Pirates would compete in a 10 team National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) North Division One from next season, the League Management Committee of the (NIHL) have released details of the end of season play-off format.
A four week play-off period at the end of the 36 game regular season will culminate in a four team play-off weekend at a venue yet to be decided. The top 8 sides in each conference (North & South) will contest the play-offs, the first 3 rounds of the play-offs will be played on a regional basis, home & away legs to be decided by aggregate scores.
Regional quarter finals played on a table finish format (eg 1v8, 2v7 & so on) and the winners of these ties will progress into the regional semi finals in week two of the play-off. In these semi final play-offs the winner of the 1v8 fixture will play the winner of 4v5 game and 2v7 winner will play 3v6.
Week 3 will see the top two sides from each conference play each other to determine the seedings in the National play-off weekend in week 4.
The Saturday of the finals weekend will see the top side in the North take on the 2nd placed side from the South and vice versa. The winners of semi final Saturday games will compete in the Grand Final on play-off Sunday.
The LMC stated that other fixtures are to be arranged for the finals weekend with details announced when these are confirmed.
Discussions between the NIHL and stakeholders to confirm dates are ongoing and will be released shortly. A spokesperson for the NIHL said “A play-off weekend is a fantastic way to end the season and is a huge part of British hockey traditions”.
The Pirates will be hoping to be part of the finals weekend next season. Having reached the EPIHL play-offs at the end of last season but falling badly short, coach Jason Hewitt (below) will be demanding a better showing in 2018 then the Pirates served up at the end of the 2017 season.
Before anyone can think of a Championship weekend though the preparations for regular season grind are already underway at the Hull Ice Arena. Yesterday the club announced the re-signing of Hull born defenceman Jamie Chilcott (pictured),
The no nonsense, talismanic Chilcott ,will also captain the 2017/18 Pirates. Chilcott expressed his delight at the news when speaking on the clubs official website, stating ” Obviously it’s an honour for Hewy to name me captain but I don’t think it really changes anything. Anybody who’s played in a team knows you don’t need an arm band to be a leader. There are plenty of leaders in our dressing room and on the ice, but I will take on the responsibility with pride”.
Coach Hewitt said of Chilcott, “He’s one of the leaders of this team and that’s why we’ve brought him back as our captain. He’s positive, he leads with his play and isn’t afraid to speak his mind when he need’s to, which I love about him”.
Jamie returns for his 5th stint with his hometown club and had a great season last season, where he featured in 54 games, scoring 5 goals and 29 assists. Undoubtedly he will prove to be a popular choice among the Pirates faithful, leading by example on and off the ice.