The B.C. Hockey League announced the new format for the 2017 Fred Page Cup playoffs late last month.
Creating a playoff format for the BCHL is a challenge, since the league has three divisions, but has to get down to two teams to compete for the title.
The Island Division is made up of five teams, including the Cowichan Valley Capitals, while the Mainland and Interior divisions each feature six teams.
All playoff series, regardless of round or division, will be best-of-seven.
In the Island Division the top four teams will make the playoffs, with the No. 1 seed taking on the No. 4 seed while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds square off, and the winners advance to the division finals. The format will be identical in the Mainland Division, and the winners of the Island and Mainland divisions will meet in the round after that.
In the Interior Division, six teams will qualify for the playoffs, including a possible crossover team from the Mainland Division — more on that later. With the teams ranked No. 1 to No. 6, the top two seeds will get a bye through the first round, while the No. 3 seed will face the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed will meet the No. 5 seed. In the next round, the No. 1 seed will face the lowest-seeded team to advance from the first round, while the No. 2 team will face the other team that advances.
If the fifth-place team from the Mainland Division has more points than the sixth-place team from the Interior, the Mainland team will cross over to the Interior and will be seeded sixth in the first round.
Once the Interior Division champion is determined, that team will play the winner of the series between the Island and Mainland finalists for the Fred Page Cup.
The Capitals finished third in the Island Division in the 2015-16 BCHL season and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They currently sit third in the Island Division with 36 games left to play in the 2016-17 campaign.