Calgary, AB – The Western Hockey League will have a new playoff format for the 2015 WHL Playoffs. The new format mirrors that of the National Hockey League and is designed to enhance Divisional rivalries in the First Round of the WHL Playoffs.
The Western Hockey League’s Eastern and Western Conferences will use a Divisional/Conference hybrid playoff format, with the inclusion of Wild Card qualifiers, for the 2015 WHL Playoffs. All playoff series are still best-of-seven affairs.
The new format will see the top three Clubs in each Division make up the first six playoff qualifiers within each of the two WHL Conferences. The remaining two spots per Conference will be filled via Wild Cards, with the next two highest-placed Clubs in each Conference earning playoff berths based on their regular season record, regardless of Division.
In the First Round, the Division winner with the best record in each Conference will be matched against the wild card team with the lesser record; the wild card team with the better record will play the other Division winner. The second and third-place teams within each Division will also meet in the First Round.
First-round winners within each bracket play one another in the Second Round with the four winning Clubs advancing to the Conference Championships. Home ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the Club that placed higher in regular season standings.
The two Clubs winning second round series in each Conference will advance to the third round (WHL Conference Championships), where they will be ranked in order of regular season points.
The Eastern and Western Conference Champions will advance to the best-of-seven WHL Championship Series, with the Club having the most regular season points receiving home ice advantage.