Canada West localizes formats and adds divisions to hockey

VANCOUVER, BC – Changes are coming to the Canada West Division of U SPORTS. 

On Thursday, Canada West member athletic directors voted on several changes to sport formats and scheduling for the 2024-25 season, bringing adjustments to basketball, hockey, volleyball and women’s soccer, “with the changes allowing for an increased emphasis on regional rivalries.”

Hockey

(Alberta Golden Bears Athletics)

Both men’s and women’s hockey will abandon the single table standings after the 2023-24 season, with 2024-25 bringing in two divisions consisting of four and five teams each that will rotate through the league’s nine teams over six years. 

Despite doing away with the overall standings, cross-division play will be a factor in the new set-up. 

As for the playoff format, it will feature a yet-to-be-determined six-team setup with cross-over. The eventual format would either feature the top three teams in each division crossing over or an unbalanced system based on the unbalanced divisions. 

Women’s Soccer

(UBC Thunderbirds Athletics)

Cross-division play has been eliminated in women’s soccer, meaning there will no longer be matches between the Prairie and Pacific Divisions. However, the season will remain at 14 games for all teams before an eight-team single-elimination playoff bracket. 

While not explicitly stated in Thursday’s release, the eight-team playoff would eliminate the current set-up, including a No. 4 v No. 5 play-in game. At the same time, there is no confirmation as to which Alberta team would cross over into the Pacific for the season, although it will likely be Calgary in 2024. 

Basketball

(Victoria Vikes Athletics)

Localized schedules also make their way to men’s and women’s basketball, with two divisions playing only inside their respective sides, taking on a 20-game schedule across the board. 12 teams will make the playoffs in a single elimination format — a change that would likely maintain a mix of byes or play-in games. 

Volleyball

(TWU Spartans Athletics)

Men’s and women’s volleyball approach the most balanced schedule and will play a single-table structure in 2024-25, featuring 20 games for each team. 

Each school will have four annual opponents they will play each season while rotating through the remaining teams in the conference. On the men’s side, teams will play six of eight programs in each season, while women’s teams play six of nine.

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