The team who finishes first in the West Coast Senior Hockey League gets home-ice advantage in the playoffs, but it could also mean a long layoff as the top dogs wait to see who will provide the opposition.
That is because the team that finishes on top earns a bye to the final, while the other two teams — Stephenville guaranteed to be one of them after finishing in third — will play a best-of-seven series to determine who advances to the final against the top seed.
That series is also scheduled to be a best-of-seven contest.
That is a topic that Corner Brook Royals' defenceman Adam Guy says has been tossed around in the dressing room and there appears to be a variety of takes on the issue.
Guy would have liked to see a playoff format whereby a double round-robin would determine the two finalists because all three teams would have the benefit of being on the ice without any lengthy layoff.
He wonders what kind of shape his team will be in if they claim top spot and the semifinal series goes six or seven games.
He knows his team will hold regular practices and some of the guys can get in some extra skates by playing in the local recreational hockey league. But, he doesn’t like the fact that if the Royals end up in first they will be going up against a team that is fresh off winning a big series with momentum on their side.
"(The double round robin) keeps everybody on the ice and there’s no team just sitting around for weeks waiting to see what happens,” he said. “It will be a little bit of a challenge for sure, but if we got a full squad I think we will be OK.”
Fellow Royals defenceman Adam Hillier believes there are pros and cons to both sides of the issue, but regardless of where the Royals finish he vows the team will be ready to play.
Hillier said a bye would be good for the team when it comes to working on things in practice and giving some players the chance to heal from any nagging injuries.
Being on the sidelines for the first round might not be such a bad idea when Hillier realizes the other two teams may have to go through a rough and tumble series of at least four games, with the possibility of it going the distance.
“At the same time, that’s four games of hockey that they can get banged up too and we know how physical the games have been this season,” Hillier said. “Nobody wants a full month off, but we’ll just have to keep the tempo up at our practices so we’re ready to play when it comes to playing again."