“Hockey media and fans alike seem to enjoy nothing more than ‘a Cinderella story’ come playoff time.” -The Hockey Research Journal, SIHR.
We are attracted to the underdog, hoping to say, “I was there,” when an unexpected event occurs.
But does it happen in the KIJHL? What is the true indicator of the best team – the regular season champion or playoff winner?
The data covering 44 years (1967 to 2011) doesn’t support the Cinderella desire of fans in the KIJHL, as there is a strong correlation between regular season standings and playoff results leading to the championship.
With only two exceptions, Castlegar (4th place in 1977-78) and Fernie (5th place in 2007-08), the KIJHL playoff champion finished the regular season within the top three teams in the standings.
More notable, an impressive 89 per cent of playoff champions finished in first or second place in the regular season standings.
First place finishers won the playoffs 59 per cent of the time, while second place finishers won 30 per cent of KIJHL playoff series.
Who then are the giants of the KIJHL? Cranbrook, garnered 10 league championships on their way to win more provincial titles “Cyclone Taylor” trophies (7) than any other team in BC.
Trail follows with seven league championships, Beaver Valley and Nelson with five each.
So what of 2011-12?
Will one of the 89 per cent of league champions, such as Beaver Valley or Castlegar, who finished first and second in regular season standings, hold true to form and capture the KIJHL title?
History is on their side.
Or will Kelowna (11th in regular season) or Sicamous (13th in regular season) wear the glass slipper, both teams upset the number 1 seed in the first round of their respective divisions?
The winner gets to go to the ball.