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BC/HE
09-30-2018, 08:51 AM
This is the first year I can recall that so many teams are scheduling regular season Division 1 games instead of exhibition games to start the season. Nearly 1/3 of the schools are doing so with 9 of those games on tap for the first day of full team and coaches participation. This 1/3 is actually exact as the Ivy League schools don't start until later. Is this the start of a new trend? No more than 2 or 3 of these games were being played in previous years more often with competitive differences between the teams. Many of this years openers are highly competitive games that teams are taking chances by playing them without the benefit of full team and coach workouts.

FlagDUDE08
09-30-2018, 09:16 AM
This is the first year I can recall that so many teams are scheduling regular season Division 1 games instead of exhibition games to start the season. Nearly 1/3 of the schools are doing so with 9 of those games on tap for the first day of full team and coaches participation. This 1/3 is actually exact as the Ivy League schools don't start until later. Is this the start of a new trend? No more than 2 or 3 of these games were being played in previous years more often with competitive differences between the teams. Many of this years openers are highly competitive games that teams are taking chances by playing them without the benefit of full team and coach workouts.

Let's break it down by conference:

AHC: 3 NC, 5 EX (3 start the next week, all NC)
ECAC: 1 NC, 4 EX (6 are Ivy, 1 starts NC the next week)
HEA: 3 NC, 5 EX (3 start the next week, all NC)
B1G: 1.5 NC, 3.5 EX (1 team is doing both hence the half; 2 NC the next week)
NCHC: 3 NC, 4 EX (1 starts NC the next week)
WCHA: 4.5 NC, 2.5 EX (1 Alaska team used the special rule to do EX and NC at everyone else's start hence the half; 3 NC the next week, but one team doing EX after the first NC week)
Independent: Starting with NC

Taking a quick look at last year, AHC and ECAC are about the same, while HEA, B1G, NCHC, and WCHA have more teams starting on the first week where most just took the first week off, while exhibitions are around the same. For completions sake, Independent started with EX.

This year, the first date for the lower 48 is 6 October, where as last year, it was 30 September. The Regionals were on 23-25 March last year, and this year they are 29-31 March. So it's not because of a schedule crunch. HEA is playing an extra week with their change in playoff format, but that would suggest to trend in the other direction. Let's also remember, though, that the kids are likely getting together to hold "Captain's Practices" with the systems in mind. Maybe that extra week is what propelled them.