ECHL Announces Alignments,
Playoff Format

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced the division and conference alignments and the format for the 2006 Kelly Cup Playoffs which were both unanimously approved by the ECHL Board of Governors at its Annual Meeting on June 21-22.

The ECHL welcomes the Phoenix Roadrunners, the Stockton Thunder and the Utah Grizzlies in 2005-06 and will have 27 teams playing in 16 states and British Columbia beginning October 21 and ending April 8. Every team begins the season with the goal of winning the Patrick J. Kelly Cup, presented annually to the league postseason champion and won in 2005 by the Trenton Titans, who defeated the Florida Everblades in the finals.

The conference and division alignments are:

American Conference (16 teams)

North Division (6 teams) – Dayton, Johnstown, Reading, Toledo, Trenton and Wheeling

South Division (10 teams) – Augusta, Charlotte, Columbia, Florida, Greenville, Gwinnett, Mississippi, Pensacola, South Carolina and Texas

National Conference (11 teams)

West Division (6 teams) – Alaska, Idaho, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Utah and Victoria

Pacific Division (5 teams) – Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, San Diego and Stockton

In the North Division, the fourth-place and fifth-place finishers will meet in a best-of-three Division Quarterfinal, the winner advancing to the Division Semifinals against the division winner. The other Division Semifinal match-up will be between the second-place and third-place finishers. The Division Finals will be a best-of-seven with the North Division winner advancing to meet the winner of the South Division in the best-of-seven American Conference Finals for the right to advance to the Kelly Cup Finals.

In the South Division, the top eight teams based on regular-season point totals will advance to the postseason. In the best-of-five Division Quarterfinals, the first-place team will meet the eighth-place team, the second-place team will meet the seventh-place team, the third-place team will meet the sixth-place team, and the fourth-place team will meet the fifth-place team. In the best-of-five Division Semifinals and in the best-of-five South Division Finals, the winners will be reseeded according to regular-season points. The winner of the South Division Finals will advance to face the winner of the North Division in the best-of-seven American Conference Finals for the right to advance to the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Finals.

The playoff qualifiers in the National Conference will be the top four teams with the highest regular-season point total from the Pacific Division and the top four teams with the highest regular-season point total from the West Division. The Division Semifinals will be best-of-seven series with the first-place finishers meeting the fourth-place finishers and the second-place finishers meeting the third-place finishers. The winners of the Division Semifinals advance to the division finals which are also best-of-seven series. The Division Finals winners will meet in the best-of-seven National Conference Finals to advance to the Kelly Cup Finals.

2006 Kelly Cup Playoffs Format

American Conference

South Division

Quarterfinals (Best-of-Five Series)
No. 1 Seed (Division Winner) vs. No. 8 Seed
No. 2 Seed vs. No. 7 Seed
No. 3 Seed vs. No. 6 Seed
No. 4 Seed vs. No. 5 Seed

Semifinals (Best-of-Five Series)
No. 1 Seed vs. No. 4 Seed
No. 2 Seed vs. No. 3 Seed

Finals (Best-of-Five Series)
Winner of No. 1 Seed/No. 4 Seed vs. Winner of No. 2 Seed/No. 3 Seed

American Conference Finals (Best-of-Seven Series)
North Division Winner vs. South Division Winner

American Conference

North Division

Quarterfinals (Best-of-Three Series)
No. 5 Seed vs. No. 4 Seed

American Conference

Semifinals (Best-of-Five Series)
No. 1 Seed (Division Winner) vs. Quarterfinals Winner
No. 2 Seed vs. No. 3 Seed
Finals (Best-of-Seven Series)
Winner of No. 1 Seed/Quarterfinals Winner vs. Winner of No. 2 Seed/No. 3 Seed

National Conference

Pacific Division

Semifinals (Best-of-Seven Series)
No. 1 Seed (Division Winner) vs. No. 4 Seed
No. 2 Seed vs. No. 3 Seed

Finals (Best-of-Seven Series)
Winner of No. 1 Seed/No. 4 Seed vs. Winner of No. 2 Seed/No. 3 Seed

West Division

Semifinals (Best-of-Seven Series)
No. 1 Seed (Division Winner) vs. No. 4 Seed
No. 2 Seed vs. No. 3 Seed

Finals (Best-of-Seven Series)
Winner of No. 1 Seed/No. 4 Seed vs. Winner of No. 2 Seed/No. 3 Seed

National Conference Finals (Best-of-Seven Series)
Pacific Division Champion vs. West Division Champion

2006 Kelly Cup Finals (Best-of-Seven Series)
National Conference Champion vs. American Conference Champion

2006 Kelly Cup Playoffs Bracket