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UW athletics: Big Ten picks plan for hockey playoffs

UW athletics: Big Ten picks plan for hockey playoffs

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The new Big Ten Conference for men's hockey won't debut until 2013-14, but the University of Wisconsin already suffered a setback.

The playoff format endorsed by UW was not the one chosen by the other five members.

The Big Ten plans to utilize a two-week postseason format that begins with the four lowest seeds meeting in a best-of-three series at the home of the highest seed. The survivors advance to face the top two seeds at the home of the No. 1 seed.

That means if the Badgers win the inaugural Big Ten regular-season title in 2014, they would host the semifinals at the Kohl Center over two days. The winner would get an automatic berth into the 16-team NCAA tournament.

The six Big Ten members — Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin — were given three playoff options.

UW opted for the one that had all six teams playing a single-elimination format at a neutral site, preferably the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The model mimics the one currently used by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

But a college hockey source said UW was the only member to vote for that proposal.

Sean Frazier, the UW deputy athletic director who oversees men's and women's hockey, said arrangements will be made to deal with any scheduling conflicts that may arise from the new model.

"As it states right now, we shouldn't have any conflicts," Frazier said Friday during a meeting of the UW Athletic Board.

The newly appointed chairman of the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey committee, Frazier said the Big Ten still is working on scheduling agreements with the WCHA and Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

UW and Minnesota are leaving the WCHA, while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are exiting the CCHA for the new Big Ten affiliation.

"We are committed, but we have not talked substantively since the WCHA meetings" in early May, Frazier said.

Board approves contracts

The UW Athletic Board approved the contracts of nine spring coaches.

Women's hockey coach Mark Johnson's contract was amended. He now has a five-year deal that runs through 2016.

Women's golf coach Todd Oehrlein's contract was established. He now has a three-year deal that runs through 2014.

Greg Van Emburgh (men's tennis), Yvette Healy (softball), Chris Clark (men's rowing), Bebe Bryan (women's rowing), Jim Stintzi (women's track and cross country) and Ed Nuttycombe (men's track) had their three-year deals extended through 2014.

Women's tennis coach Brian Fleishman's one-year contract was renewed through 2012.

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