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Daily Dish: Our Proposed NAHL Balanced Schedule, Playoffs, and Finals – Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 12 Apr 2021  
By: Stephen Heisler, JuniorHockey.com


Should the North American Hockey League take the opportunity to consider a complete divisional reset for the 2020-21 season?  Could that mean that the conclusion of the Robertson Cup be a Frankie’s Four blowout bash? 

The current concept is understandable enough, but maybe it is time to think completely outside the box.

Here is an idea that the NAHL should strongly consider.

Go back to the host team getting an automatic berth. That host should be determined through a bid process and rotated through all divisions in the league.

Consider breaking the league down into three conferences with two divisions in each.

EAST CONFERENCE 
Atlantic Division (7) 
Danbury Hat Tricks
Jamestown Rebels
Johnstown Tomahawks
Maine Nordiques
Maryland Black Bears
New Jersey Titans
Northeast Generals 
Schedule Format
Three games home & away with each division opponent
One game home & away against Alaska Division opponent
Four games at Showcase Event 
six games custom/rivalry 
52 GAMES

Alaska Division (3) 
Anchorage Wolverines
Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Kenai River Brown Bears
Schedule Format
Seven games home & away with each division opponent
One game home & away against Atlantic Division opponent
Four games at Showcase Event 
six games custom/rivalry 
52 GAMES

MIDWEST CONFERENCE
Plaines Division (5)
Aberdeen Wings
Bismarck Bobcats
Minot Minotauros
North Iowa Bulls
St Cloud Norsemen
Schedule Format
Four games home & away with each division opponent
One games home & away against each Lakes Division opponent
Four games at Showcase Event 
six games custom/rivalry 
52 GAMES

Lakes Division (5) 
Austin Bruins
Chippewa Steel
Minnesota Wilderness
Minnesota Magicians
Janesville Jets
Schedule Format
Four games home & away with each division opponent
One games home & away against each Plaines Division opponent
Four games at Showcase Event 
six games custom/rivalry 
52 GAMES

SOUTH CONFERENCE 
Texas Division (4) 
El Paso Rhinos
New Mexico Ice Wolves
Odessa Jackalopes
Wichita Falls Warriors
Schedule Format
Five games home & away with division opponent
Two games home & away against Delta Division opponent
Four games at Showcase Event 
Two games custom/rivalry 
52 GAMES

Delta Division (4) 
Corpus Christi IceRays
Lone Star Brahmas
Shreveport Mudbugs
Springfield Blues
(Kansas City Scouts)
Schedule Format
Five games home & away with division opponent
Two games home & away against each Texas Division opponent
Four games at Showcase Event 
Two games custom/rivalry 
52 GAMES

Play-off Format
Easy enough, the top two teams from each division make the play-offs. First round is division championship, next is conference championship, and those guys go on to a clean Robertson Cup Final at the host city. Some divisions could add semi-finals.

There you have it, a simple concept that makes the budgets work, offers a bit of variety with the custom games, and would be the most balanced in recent league history. 

Author: Stephen Heisler from JuniorHockey.com
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.


* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.
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