Home ice non-existent
Updated 4:31 pm, Friday, March 11, 2011
"There's no place like home" isn't just a cliché. Home field and home ice means a lot in sports, and that's why teams with the best records are usually awarded a home game in the playoffs.
But that's not the case in the CIAC hockey playoffs this year because the home-ice advantage is virtually non-existent. Tournament directors should rectify that for next year because the very top teams weren't rewarded with a home game.
That's because many top teams get byes before the quarterfinals and the playoffs go straight to neutral ice for the quarterfinal rounds.
The top eight seeds in the Division I playoffs each had one home game, but in the Division II and III playoffs, none of the top four seeds had a home game because there were only 10 teams in D-II and 12 teams in D-III.
In the D-II playoffs, the seventh and eighth seeds played home games in the first round with the top six seeds getting byes. In D-III, the fifth through eighth seeds hosted playoff games while the top four seeds had first-round byes.
Moving to neutral ice in the quarterfinals is wrong because teams that earned top seeds aren't rewarded with a home game, which should be just deserts for a successful season.
A fair solution for next year is to have all quarterfinal games hosted by the higher-seed. This way, the best teams get rewarded for their success
Take the Staples-Weston-Shelton boys co-op team's D-III game as a prime example. Staples finished the regular season 14-6, with seven wins against D-II schools and two against D-I squads to earn the second-seed in the D-III tournament.
In other sports, a yeomen's performance is rewarded with a home game -- but not the Wreckers, who had a bye in the tournament and opened up last night after press time at a neutral site, Northfield Ice Pavilion against the seventh-seeded St. Bernard-Bacon Academy-Norwich Free Academy co-op team.. This isn't right or fair -- Staples should have hosted this game, not just wearing home jerseys at Northfield Ice Pavilion.
Higher seeds host basketball playoff games up until the quarterfinal round. A basketball coach said he disagrees with it because quarterfinals were at neutral sites last year. But I like it and think it's right because higher seeds should be awarded with a home game until the quarterfinals round and possibly the semifinals.
Quarterfinals games in boys and girls soccer, volleyball and lacrosse and field hockey are held at the higher-seeded teams' fields. In girls tennis, the semifinals match is at the higher seed.
Going forward, boys hockey should emulate the other sports and have higher-seeded teams host quarterfinals games.