Challenge Cup format confirmed for 2019/20
After last week’s fixtures meeting the format for this season’s Challenge Cup is now confirmed. 10 teams will de divided into three groups in the group stage, with the tournament progressing to aggregate-scoring Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals. The one-off Final will be held on 8 March in Cardiff’s Viola Arena.
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.
As with last season’s Challenge Cup, 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’.