The EIHL has come up with a novel approach to the knock-out stages of the Challenge Cup – group winners will be allowed to pick their quarter-final opponents!
The hope is to add an extra element to the competition which culminates with a showcase final at Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff on March 4.
It’s the first time top flight ice hockey in the UK has opted for a ‘pick your opponent’ format.
Tony Smith, EIHL chairman, said: “Top seeded teams will really need to think about who they want to face in the quarter-finals, who they think they will match up well against.
“Equally those teams chosen as the opponents won’t want to be seen as some kind of ‘weak link’ - it will give them an extra point to prove as they look to progress in the competition themselves.
“We have seen other leagues, such as the EBEL and Metal Ligaen, use similar ideas and we are is proud to join them at the cutting edge in this way.”
The three group winners will be seeded, and each will be allowed to pick their opponents from the teams placed fourth to eighth in the pecking order.
Sheffield Steelers have secured the first seed spot, so will get first pick, followed by MK Lightning and then Belfast Giants.
They can choose their opposition from Cardiff Devils, Fife Flyers, Dundee Stars, Guildford Flames and Nottingham Panthers
The selections will be made at the league meeting scheduled for Tuesday November 28.