Regular Season Format
According to the PAC-8 Charter, membership is limited only to sanctioned teams from universities that are also members of the Pac-12. By rule, each season starts on October 1 of each year.
Starting with the 2013-2014 season and the introduction of 2 additional teams (for a total of 9), the PAC-8 elected to increase the number of conference games to 14, as well as play a divisional schedule.
- The North Division consists of 4 teams: Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Washington State.
- The South Division consists of 5 teams: ASU, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and USC.
With the uneven number of teams in each division, the following format was devised:
- North Division teams would play 4 games (2 home, 2 away) against other North teams, which adds up to 12 games. Additionally, each North team would host a different South team each year for the final conference games, bringing the total to 14 games.
- South Division teams would play 3 games against other South teams, which adds up to 12 games. Additionally, each South team would travel to a North team for 2 games, bringing the total to 14 games.
- Each year on a rotating schedule, one South Division team will not be required to travel to play a North team. Instead, their 2 remaining games would be against South teams. For the 2013-2014 season, Stanford was designated as the non-travel team, and will play their 2 additional games against Cal. These games will NOT count for conference standings for Cal.
- For opponents who play each other more than the requisite number of times, teams will agree before the season starts which games would be counted for conference play.
Two points are awarded for a win, and 1 point for an overtime loss. At the end of the regular season, the top 3 teams from each division (including the host team) are invited to the PAC-8 Hockey Conference Tournament in mid-February.
Along with the required conference schedule, teams schedule several non-conference games against ACHA opponents for regional and national ranking consideration.
In game play, the ACHA follows the NCAA Rulebook for ice hockey. For interconference games, the PAC-8 mostly follows the same rules for game times and structure. A notable difference is in cases of a tie game after regulation and a 5-minute sudden-death overtime period, the PAC-8 uses a 5-man shootout to determine the winner. This differs with the NHL, which uses a 3-man shootout. This shootout is also carried into conference playoff games (both the NHL and NCAA use additional sudden-death overtime periods to determine the winner). For the 2013-2014 season, a small change was introduced to allow for an extended 10-minute overtime period for only the championship game of the conference tournament, after which the winner would be determined by a 5-man shootout.
During the 2012-2013 season, member teams played 2 games against each conference opponent for the purposes of conference standings. In situations where teams played each other more than twice in a season (e.g., USC typically plays UCLA 5 times per season), the teams must have agreed, before the start of the season, on which two games would count for conference standings.
Prior to the 2012-2013 season, the conference used a mathematical formula to account for an unbalanced schedule between teams. Points were awarded based on wins, with more weight given to wins against teams with better win/loss records.
Read more about this topic: Pacific 8 Intercollegiate Hockey Conference
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