Boise, ID (7/11/16) – The ECHL announced changes to its divisional alignment and playoff format on Monday, changes that will see the Idaho Steelheads welcoming two new divisional opponents during the 2016-17 season.
In the new divisional format, the Steelheads, who played last season in the five-team West Division, will compete in the newly named seven-team Mountain Division. All members of last year’s West Division- the Colorado Eagles, the Utah Grizzlies, the Rapid City Rush, the Alaska Aces, and the Steelheads- will remain in the Mountain Division, joined by the Allen Americans and the Missouri Mavericks.
The remaining three divisions include the Central Division in the Western Conference, as well as the North Division and South Division in the Eastern Conference.
Central Division: Fort Wayne, Indy, Kalamazoo, Quad City, Toledo, Tulsa and Wichita
North Division: Adirondack, Brampton, Elmira, Manchester, Reading, Wheeling
South Division: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Florida, Greenville Norfolk, Orlando, South Carolina
With the new alignment, the league will no longer utilize a playoff format based on the top eight seeds of each conference. Rather, the first two rounds of the playoffs will be held within each division, with the top four teams in each division making the post-season. After the first two rounds, the winner of the Mountain Division will face the winner of the Central Division in the Western Conference Final, while the North Division winner battles the South Division winner in the Eastern Conference Final, to decide which two teams will play for the Kelly Cup.
The Steelheads faced the Allen Americans and Missouri Mavericks for the first time last season. Idaho split two games at CenturyLink Arena with the Mavericks to finish the season, and the Steelheads went 2-1-1 against the Americans in the regular season before falling to Allen in seven games in the Western Conference Quarterfinal.
The Steelheads will play 53 of their 72 games this season against Mountain Division opponents.
Click here to view the Steelheads’ full schedule for the upcoming season.