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2014-03-28 at MIDNIGHT

CIS restructures hockey championship, adds third OUA slot

By Leith Dunick,
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The CIS is expanding the men’s national hockey championship.

The governing body for university sports on Thursday announced it was expanding the tournament from six teams to eight and switching from a round-robin format to a single-elimination event, like the men’s and women’s basketball championship.

The move means a guaranteed third spot for the OUA, where the winner of the league’s bronze-medal game will join the OUA East and West champions at nationals, being held the next two years in Nova Scotia. Thunder Bay's Lakehead University Thunderwolves had a chance in this year's third-place contest, but fell short, losing to Carleton for the sixth and final slot at nationals. The wild-card berth rotated yearly between the three hockey-playing circuits.

“We truly believe these changes will help us take university sport to the next level and offer our student-athletes and coaches the best platforms to showcase their outstanding talent,” CIS chief executive officer Pierre Lafontaine said Thursday in a release.

The men’s hockey tournament will also include a bronze-medal game for the first time since 2004, though only the women’s event will see a consolation side.

The six-team, two-pool format has been in place since 1998, taking over for the four-team event that was used from 1988 to 1997.

The berths for the 2015 and 2016 tourney will include four regional winners (Canada West, Atlantic University Sport, OUA West and OUA East), a host squad (St. Francis Xavier in 2015, Saint Mary’s in 2016), and assigned berths to Canada West, the OUA and AUS.
The two-year trial will be re-evaluated for 2017.

CIS officials also announced slight changes to the basketball championship, extending both the men`s and women’s events from three days to four, with the consolation semifinals slated for Day 2 and the championship semifinals for Saturday.
Ryerson is slated to host the men’s Final 8 in 2015, while Laval will host the women’s event.

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