The ECHL announced the new divisional alignment for the 2016-17 season, along with a new format for the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Within the new league alignment, the Fuel join the Western Conference’s Central Division, alongside the Fort Wayne Komets, Kalamazoo Wings, Quad City Mallards, Toledo Walleye, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder.
As approved by the Board of Governors, the Conference and Divisional alignment for the 2016-17 Season will be as follows:
North Division: Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Elmira Jackals, Manchester Monarchs, Reading Royals, Wheeling Nailers
South Division: Atlanta Gladiators, Cincinnati Cyclones, Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Norfolk Admirals, Orlando Solar Bears, South Carolina Stingrays
Central Division : Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings, Quad City Mallards, Toledo Walleye, Tulsa Oilers, Wichita Thunder
Mountain Division : Alaska Aces, Allen Americans, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush, Utah Grizzlies
With the ECHL’s 2016-17 schedule remaining the same, the Fuel will play a total of 33 of their 72 games within the new-look Central Division. Indy will meet Quad City 10 times (6 home, 4 road), Fort Wayne nine times (5 home, 4 road), Toledo five times (2 home, 3 road), Kalamazoo four times (2 home, 2 road), Tulsa four times (2 home, 2 road) and Wichita once on the road. Twenty-two of Indy’s final 36 games will be against Central opponents.
The first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs will be played entirely within the division, with the division winner playing the fourth-place finisher and the second-place team meeting the third-place team in the Division Semifinals.
The winners of each series will meet in the Division Finals, leading to the Conference Finals and Kelly Cup Finals. The new format will allow most teams to have a better chance of playing traditional rivals in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and to allow for more economical travel.
SOURCE: Indy Fuel Hockey