Challenge Cup groups & format

Pondlife

Active Member
Thread starter #1
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After last week’s fixtures meeting the format for this season’s Challenge Cup is now confirmed. 10 teams will de divided into three groups in the group stage, with the tournament progressing to aggregate-scoring Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals. The one-off Final will be held on 8 March in Cardiff’s Viola Arena.
Group Stage
  • Group A: Belfast Giants, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers, Glasgow Clan (1 Home, 1 Away –Top 3 Qualify)
  • Group B: Cardiff Devils, Coventry Blaze, Guildford Flames (2 Home, 2 Away – Top 2 Qualify)
  • Group C: Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers (2 Home, 2 Away Top 2 Qualify)
Overtime & Shootouts will be played in the Group Stage if games are tied after 60 minutes. Group Stage games are scheduled to be completed by 9 November.
Play-In Round
Teams finishing 3rd in Groups B & C will play a one-off game for a place in the Quarter-Finals. The team with the better group stage record (as per tie-breaking criteria) will have the option of home ice advantage.
Quarter-Finals
The three group winners will be seeded for the draw (in order of Group Stage win percentage), and have the option to pick their Quarter-Final opponents from the remaining five teams. Group winners will have home ice advantage in the return leg (subject to ice availability). In the fourth Quarter-Final, the team with the higher win percentage from the group stage will have home ice advantage in the return leg. Winners will be decided by aggregate-scoring over two legs. Quarter-Final ties are scheduled to take place on 11 & 18 December.
Semi-Finals
As with last season’s Challenge Cup, the Semi-Finals will see the highest remaining seeded team take on the lowest remaining seeded team. The next highest seed remaining will play the fourth team, with higher seeds having the option of home ice advantage in the return leg (subject to ice availability). Winners will be decided by aggregate-scoring over two legs. Semi-Final ties are scheduled for two dates across 15, 22 or 29 January.
Final
The Challenge Cup Final will take place on 8 March at Cardiff’s Viola Arena. As it will be a neutral venue, the higher seeded team will be classed as the ‘Home Team’.
 

Devilsatw

Active Member
#3
It’s a shit show from the league again to make a little bit of money, 28 games to eliminate 2 teams is a joke and they should be ashamed of how it is run.
 

Devilsatw

Active Member
#6
It really is a joke.
Why don’t they all play each other home and away with the top 4 qualify for semi final? It’s not rocket science
 

Finny

Well-Known Member
#8
It really is a joke.
Why don’t they all play each other home and away with the top 4 qualify for semi final? It’s not rocket science
Too many extra games.

I thought this format was daft when I first read it. The more I think about it though the more I can see why they've gone for it in the hope that'll lead to less dead-rubber games.

We shall see how it goes....
 

Have Hope#35

Well-Known Member
#9
Too many extra games.

I thought this format was daft when I first read it. The more I think about it though the more I can see why they've gone for it in the hope that'll lead to less dead-rubber games.

We shall see how it goes....
Two Groups of 5 with Home and Away is 8 Games which is the same as it is now - there's a good chance of dead rubbers in both formats! Plus Group B & C Teams could lose all 8 and still make the Q.Final.
 

Temme

Well-Known Member
#11
How would everybody else suggest it be run if not like this?

I've been racking my brain since reading this earlier today, and short of making it more unbalanced i don't know how they could shorten it any further.

The cup needs scrapping altogether unless there are a perfect number of teams (2x4, 3x4, 2x6) so that i can go straight from group -> Semi-Final.
 
#12
Purely as a matter of interest, does anyone know for a fact how the venue for the final is determined? It’s been in Cardiff for a number of years now which, although great for us (at least when we reach the final), may not be to the liking of other clubs or more especially their fans.
 
#13
todd said that teams bid to host the cc final. Cardiff won the bid to host the final for 2/3 years. Then the owners will rebid again after the contract expires.
 

Wannabe2

Well-Known Member
#14
The thing is Belfast is too far, and too expensive, Panthers have the play offs every year, Steelers have hosted it and can’t get their Arena every time, so who can compete with Cardiff, and they do sellout.
 
#15
Thanks Devilsatw. I seem to recall reading something along those lines previously but wasn’t sure if it was a fact. Any confirmatory links?

Thanks too for your reply Wannabe. In fact, I believe it didn’t sell out last season when Devils weren’t involved. Having had to travel to Cardiff for the last 2 finals, Belfast fans will probably be raising their eyebrows at your remark!
 

Wannabe2

Well-Known Member
#17
Thanks Devilsatw. I seem to recall reading something along those lines previously but wasn’t sure if it was a fact. Any confirmatory links?

Thanks too for your reply Wannabe. In fact, I believe it didn’t sell out last season when Devils weren’t involved. Having had to travel to Cardiff for the last 2 finals, Belfast fans will probably be raising their eyebrows at your remark!
Maybe I didn’t explain that too well, can you imagine if the final was in Belfast, but Giants were out, the Oddysey would look empty, especially with it being televised. Maybe I am digging the hole deeper.
 

matbur

Active Member
#18
Sorry, but I find the entire competition a bore and pretty irrelevant. I know that the league can't just make new teams magically appear but it's another competition against the same old teams, it becomes repetitive and as someone earlier wrote, the entire group stage is just to eliminate two teams. The competition is nothing more than an exercise by the teams to bring in revenue - you can't blame them for that but as a fan, it's boring. Even if you win it, it's pretty much forgotten about by the end of the season.

I've mentioned this several times before, but one of the biggest problems the EIHL has in my opinion, is that there are too many trophies going around around too few teams. What then starts to happen is competitions start to become devalued and this is what is happening here.

Two trophies for a league of our size is plenty. The EIHL needs a little less backslapping and a little more competition, because frankly, it's a bit embarrassing.
 

Wannabe2

Well-Known Member
#19
Three trophies are fine, the conference thing to me was pretty crap, not sold on the Challenge cup scheduling myself, but 3 trophies are good. Watching Devils v Panthers/ GIANTS etc in the cup, is as entertaining as a league game.
 
#20
Three trophies are fine, the conference thing to me was pretty crap, not sold on the Challenge cup scheduling myself, but 3 trophies are good. Watching Devils v Panthers/ GIANTS etc in the cup, is as entertaining as a league game.
Maybe in the semi's or final but most CC group stages games are played with a friendly style lack of intensity, especially if a team has already qualified.

There's no real answer here, the clubs need the CC games to help survive and most fans would rather see the CC continue than a side go under because the competition was axed.

My vague suggestion for reigniting the interest in competition is to introduce an age rule. Clubs have to ice maybe 7 players under 23. You could use the CC as a step up for youngsters to make the leap for NIHL to EIHL. The gulf between the leagues is vastly growing and the likes of finding the next Myers or Richie are getting harder. This might be a way of bridging the gap.
 
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