Mhl.khl.ru explains the new OLIMPBET Junior Hockey League structure.
37 Junior Hockey League teams are divided into two conferences. Each conference is split into two divisions: Gold and Silver. The top nine teams of the 2021/22 season make up Gold divisions, the remaining teams make up Silver divisions.
First of all – for making it to TOP-5. Only five highest-placed finishers of the Gold Division are guaranteed a playoff spot.
Teams finishing the regular season in positions 6 through 8 will play additional games against the best teams of the Silver division to compete for playoff berths. The ninth team of the Gold Division finishes the season and is to play in the Silver Division in the 2023/24 season.
For making it to TOP-3 and qualifying for the play-in tournament. Extra motivation to finish first is a guaranteed joining to the Gold Division for the 2023/24 season.
The regular season ends on February 26, the playoffs begin on March 10. Five highest-placed teams of the Gold division of each conference will be preparing for the First Round while other 12 teams will compete for filling the remaining six spots (three in each conference).
The play-in is a best-of-three series, home-ice advantage goes to Silver division teams. The games are scheduled for March 2 in the West and March 3 in the East. The second and, if required, the third games will be hosted by Gold Division teams (March 5-6 in the West and March 6-7 in the East).
The First Round of the playoffs begins on March 10 and is arranged in the usual way. An important aspect is how matchups are produced. Teams from each conference will be assigned numbers from one to eight according to their place in the regular-season standings. And Gold division teams will be ranked higher than Silver division teams.
Gold divisions will feature nine teams – eight playoff participants, as well as the winner of the Silver division.
If the winner of the Silver division wins the play-in series, then the best (according to the results of the regular season) of the teams that loses the play-in series will stay in the Gold division.
There are several scenarios depending on the results of the play-in series.
If the winner of the Silver division loses to the eighth team of the Gold division and does not qualify for the playoffs, the playoff participants and the winner of the Silver division will make up the Gold division next year.
In a reverse situation the best of the teams that does not clinch a playoff berth also stays in the Gold division. We shall consider all scenarios. If the winner of the Silver division wins the play-in series, while the second and third teams of the Gold division lose, the eighth team stays in the Gold division in addition to the playoff participants. If, in addition to the eighth team of the Gold Division losing the play-in series, the sixth and/or the seventh team of the Gold Division loses the play-in series, the highest-placed finisher stays in the Gold division.