With case Div. 1A championship has yet to be resolved, the MIAA Ice Hockey Committee began finalizing the rest of the 2021-22 championship format on Friday morning.
Much of the discussion centered around hosting challenges with the new statewide configuration. Starting next winter, the first three rounds will be held in the top seed before moving to neutral locations for the statewide semifinals and finals.
Ability parameters are set for the host teams. The stadium must be able to hold a minimum of 250 people for the first round, 500 for the round of 16 and 1,000 people for the eighth round, all subject to approval by the Tournament Director.
If the home team’s location is not acceptable, the sporting director of the top seed may find a suitable location. If this is not possible, the lower seed will be hosted, or if neither is satisfied, the tournament director will choose the venue.
One important change in the format is that each team is given one time limit in overtime for tournament competitions. Previously, the timeout was not allowed.
With the 17-minute optional periods being one of the two new rules supported by the committee approved for next season, it has been clarified that the periods in all MIAA Championship games will remain at 15 minutes.
All Div. 1A, or Super 8, information and standards have been removed from the format because the tournament is still in limbo, although MIAA coordinator Richard Pearson was quick to note that it could be restored.
Currently, the Super 8 is on pause for four years of evaluation. The Ice Hockey Subcommittee continues to work with TMC to sort out the issues involved to try to get them back, although an all-sports solution is needed when it comes to the issue of Div. 1A Championships.
In addition to the optional 17-minute periods, the other new rule to pass was five minutes and four on fours during the regular season, which was a pilot program and used by only a few leagues, but will now be the standard across the state.
The teams that win in overtime will get two points and the losing team gets zero. If the match is still tied at the end of overtime, the match will be a draw and each team will get one point. Regular season tournaments that require a winner to advance must use the five-minute overtime period first, but can request play for the winner after that, with both teams receiving one point.
Pearson also noted that winter alignment proposals have been posted on the website and that schools that wish to resume hiring – and there are expected to be many more – have until the end of next week to do so.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, Dave Uminsky, Director of Oakmont, who will retire at the end of the month, was honored for his valuable service to the committee.
“You were an amazing fellow and your guidance was second to none,” said Dave Lesinski, Athletics Director and Vice Chair of the Committee.
“You have represented students very effectively across the board and have been very clear and eloquent about ice hockey through your coaching experience and as a manager,” Pearson said. “Well done.”