The Elite League teams play for four trophies throughout the season:
- League Championship
- Challenge Cup
- Playoff Trophy
- Conference Trophy
Unique from many ice hockey leagues around the world, the League Championship is generally seen as the major goal to all Elite League clubs. This often takes players participating in the UK for the first time some time to get used to.
The reason for this, is that the playoffs do not follow a typical ‘best-of’ series format. This is in large part due to a lack of available ice time at short notice, particularly for the arena clubs.
The top eight in the Elite League standings qualify for the playoffs with a quarter-final home/away tie being played over two-legs. The team with the highest aggregate score progresses to the finals weekend.
The playoff weekend, held in Nottingham is a unique experience for many players. Supporters of all teams come together to create a special atmosphere as the final four go head-to-head with both semi-finals played on the Saturday, the winners of each game progressing to the grand-final on the Sunday. The single-game knock-out format being similar to the Memorial Cup.
Whilst a short four-game playoff format, it’s an unforgettable experience to play at the final-four weekend, and an unbelievable feeling for players lucky enough to lift the trophy in front of up to 10,000 supporters.
Elite League and Conferences
The Elite League has a 10-team league structure.
For 2019/20 each team plays each other six times in the regular season, three times at home and three times away for a total of 54 games.
In addition to the all-important overall league title, teams are seperated into regional conferences, where games against conference opponents count towards a conference trophy.
The Coventry Blaze compete in one of three conferences.
Fellow teams in our 'Patton' conference are Manchester Storm and Guildford Flames.
The other two conferences are made up as follows:
Gardiner conference: Braehead Clan, Dundee Stars and Fife Flyers
Erhardt conference: Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers
The 2019/20 Elite League campaign will begin early September and it will conclude early April.
In the Elite League, you will also compete for the Challenge Cup (you could compare this to the famous FA Cup in British football).
The competition, runs alongside the league campaign.
Group A: Belfast Giants, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers, Glasgow Clan (1 Home, 1 Away –Top 3 Qualify)
Group B: Cardiff Devils, Coventry Blaze, Guildford Flames (2 Home, 2 Away – Top 2 Qualify)
Group C: Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers (2 Home, 2 Away – Top 2 Qualify)
Overtime & Shootouts will be played in the Group Stage if games are tied after 60 minutes. Group Stage games are scheduled to be completed by 9 November.
Teams finishing 3rd in Groups B & C will play a one-off game for a place in the Quarter-Finals. The team with the better group stage record (as per tie-breaking criteria) will have the option of home ice advantage.
The three group winners will be seeded for the draw (in order of Group Stage win percentage), and have the option to pick their Quarter-Final opponents from the remaining five teams. Group winners will have home ice advantage in the return leg (subject to ice availability). In the fourth Quarter-Final, the team with the higher win percentage from the group stage will have home ice advantage in the return leg. Winners will be decided by aggregate-scoring over two legs. Quarter-Final ties are scheduled to take place on 11 & 18 December.
The Semi-Finals will see the highest remaining seeded team take on the lowest remaining seeded team. The next highest seed remaining will play the fourth team, with higher seeds having the option of home ice advantage in the return leg (subject to ice availability). Winners will be decided by aggregate-scoring over two legs. Semi-Final ties are scheduled for two dates across 15, 22 or 29 January.
The Challenge Cup Final will take place on 8 March at Cardiff’s Viola Arena. As it will be a neutral venue, the higher seeded team will be classed as the ‘Home Team’.
The season ends with the playoffs. The top eight teams from the Elite League progress to a two-legged quarter-finals (home and away), usually played over a single weekend in early April.
The winners of each tie (aggregate score over two the legs) progress to the Playoff finals weekend at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre. The semi-finals taking place on the Saturday and the third vs. fourth placed match and Grand Final on the Sunday.