We are not immune to college basketball’s March Madness here at The Hockey News. In fact, it’s a big thing at the office. But since our primary passion is puck, I thought it would be fun to make up an all-hockey bracket, featuring the best leagues in the world. What would it look like? You can find the result here, but what follows is all the first-round matchups based on my personal seedings.
Obviously, all 30 NHL teams qualified because that circuit is heads and shoulders above everyone else. From there, I gave six seeds each to the American League, Kontinental League and Swedish League, followed by four for Finland’s SM-Liiga and the NCAA; three for major junior (based on the CHL’s rankings – sorry, Quebec League) and one each from the United States League, Canadian University and the domestic leagues for Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Naturally, the youngest teams took the lowest seeds – as skilled as they are, you can never discount “man strength” in these games – and an effort was made to keep AHL affiliates away from the NHL parent clubs for the first few rounds. The tournament happens now, so injuries will be a factor, as will the current state of the team (lost nine in a row coming in? That may hurt you).
I’ll update the bracket as the real Final Four tournament goes on, but for now: Who do you think gets upset in the first round?