EIHL Conference Setup a Good Idea That Courts Stupidity
I’m happy to admit I have no more than a passing interest in the Elite League. Just keeping up with who is doing well, catching bits and bobs of the other ups and downs in the league via Twitter or The Hockey Forum.
I was thrilled to see fellow Peterborian David Clarke lift the Elite League title with Nottingham, but then a feeling of stupidity began to sink in – Panthers are league champions but might not win their Conference…
How can that possibly make sense?
When it was announced I must admit I really liked the idea of the two Conferences. Perhaps being an NHL fan make it such an easy idea to get behind? Either way it seemed like a much needed shake up for the EIHL to reinvigorate the league and its fan base.
It’s largely panned out in the way the league must have hoped – the Erhardt Conference was always likely to be strong, but Braehead’s anticipated domination of the Gardiner Conference did not materialise making both halves of the EIHL competitive for much of the season.
But now we’re at the business end of the campaign the true silliness of certain aspects of this new system becomes clear.
As said, Nottingham have lifted the league crown but might not be Erhardt Conference winners; whilst Hull sit bottom of the league standings but are equal on points in the Conference with leaders Braehead.
So the league champs might not be Conference champs whilst the other Conference champs might finish at the bottom of the league? How does that possibly make sense?
By the same token, it is truly some crazy logic that could see a team finish 9th or perhaps even 10th in the league but get the 2nd seed for the play-offs thanks to Conference success.
Perhaps some of this is down to not being a hardened EIHL fan, not ‘well versed’ in the subtleties of it all. But that is equally what concerns me – hockey can be inaccessible enough as it is without stupid points systems and leagues within leagues.
The Conference system was perhaps the most refreshing thing to ever hit the EIHL – perhaps even the British game as a whole. But this weird system needs to change.