The Quad City Mallards will move to a revamped Central Division for the 2016-17 season as part of a league-wide realignment and playoff restructuring announced today by the ECHL.
The Mallards- along with the Fort Wayne Komets and Indy Fuel- migrate from the Midwest Division to the seven-team Central Division where they will also be joined by the Kalamazoo Wings, Toledo Walleye, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder.
The 27-team ECHL returns to a four-division format for the coming campaign after being divided into six divisions last season:
Central Division: Fort Wayne, Indy, Kalamazoo, Quad City, Toledo, Tulsa, Wichita
Mountain Division: Alaska, Allen, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Rapid City, Utah
North Division: Adirondack, Brampton, Elmira, Manchester, Reading, Wheeling
South Division: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Florida, Greenville, Norfolk, Orlando, South Carolina
The top four regular season finishers in each division will qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The first two rounds of the playoffs will be played entirely within the division. In the Division Semifinals the division winner will meet the fourth-place finisher and the second-place finisher will meet the team that finished in third place with the winners of those two series then colliding in the Division Finals. The winner of the Central Division Finals will meet the winner of the Mountain Division Finals in the Western Conference Finals while the winner of the North Division Finals will meet the winner of the South Division Finals in the Eastern Conference Finals. The 2017 Kelly Cup Finals will see the Western Conference champion take on the Eastern Conference champion.
The new postseason format makes it more likely teams will face traditional rivals in the opening round of the playoffs while also making travel more economical. Last season teams could be matched up with any conference opponent- rather than just division foes- in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Mallards will open their twentieth season in the Quad Cities on Friday, October 14 at 7:05 p.m. against Fort Wayne at the iWireless Center. Mallards 2016-17 season tickets are now available. Season ticket holders enjoy significant savings off the walk-up ticket price and receive a host of exclusive benefits. For more season ticket information, fans can contact the Mallards at 309-277-1364 or email@example.com.