We are on the brink of the QMJHL finishing up their regular season and beginning their playoffs. While the league highlighted the rules and regulation changes to standings and playoff formats earlier in the season, it is evident that teams will have to be seeded by points percentage because of the variation of games played by each team. There have also been modifications made to the playoff format which will also be outlined in this article.
It has been a long journey to get to this point, but kudos to the league for being determined and diligent in finding innovative ways to get these young potential stars to play games and prove why they should be at the next level in the hockey hierarchy.
Protected Environment Events Update
Seventh Protected Environment Event
This is the seventh and final protected environment event that will take place which will bring a conclusion to the regular season for the Quebec-based teams. The final event will be hosted for a second time by Sherbrooke and Victoriaville while Rouyn-Noranda and Baie-Comeau will be hosting for their first time. The event is set to take place from March 31st to April 2nd and each host city will be joined with two other teams to play a total of two games.
2021 President’s Cup Playoff Format
With the season expected to come to a close on April 2, 2021, for the Quebec-based teams and May 1, 2021, for the teams in the Maritimes Division (barring any more postponements) the League has announced its plans for the playoffs. The scenarios are slightly different as all the teams in the league will have a playoff or playoff play in games. The league has also followed the NHL’s method of keeping the playoffs within the same regions until the semi-finals.
Quebec Based Teams
- The Qualifying Round will take place April 8th-15th 2021 and will see the top two seeds in the East and West Division get byes into the second round. The other remaining teams in the division will play a best-of-five series with the highest seeded team playing the lowest-seeded team.
- The Second Round will be a best-of-seven series opposing the winners of the qualifying round to the top two seeds in each division.
- The Quarter Finals round will see a crossover of the East and West Divison with the highest seeded team in each division playing the lower-seeded team in the opposite division.
Maritime Based Teams
- All six teams from the division will make the playoffs with the three lowest seeds in the division playing in a one-game single elimination. The fifth seed will play the sixth seed on May 4th, 2021 in which the winner will play the fourth-seeded team on May 5th, 2021 in another one-game elimination scenario. The winner of the May 5th game will advance to the next round.
- The top team in the Maritime division will play the winner of the May 5th game while second place in the division will play third place in the division. Both series will be a best-of-five series and take place from May 8th – 15th, 2021.
- The Quarter Finals will see the two winners of the previous round play in a best-of-five series.
Semi-Final and President’s Cup Final
- The Semifinals will compose of two teams from Quebec and one from the Maritimes and feature them in a six-game round-robin tournament.
- The top two teams of the round-robin tournament will be featured in the President’s Cup Final.
- The President’s Cup Final is set to be played three days after the final game of the round-robin semi-final tournament and conclude no later than June 15th, 2021.
This format is unorthodox and an adjustment compared to the previous format that was in place. The good news is that good teams are being rewarded with byes through some of the early rounds but on the flip side is creating parity by allowing some of the lower-seeded teams to go on a run in single-elimination games. This is likely a format that wi