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The Hockey East Tournament has been held at the conclusion of the Hockey East regular season since the league's inception. In the league's first two tournaments in 1985 and 1986, all seven league members were invited to the Hockey East Tournament, with the top seed recieving a quarterfinal bye. From 1987 to 1989, the last place team failed to qualify, and the top two seeds would recieve quarterfinal byes.
With the addition of Merrimack to the league in 1989, the 1990 tournament returned to an all-inclusive tournament with eight teams participating. When UMass joined the league in 1994, the 1995 tournament was expanded to nine, with the lowest two seeds in a "play-in" game to reach the quarterfinals. This format was dropped for the 1996 tournament, and the tournament changed back to an eight-team tournament, which remained the format until the addition of Notre Dame for the 2013-14 season. The new format (first used for 2014) has all teams qualifying for the tournament with the 6th through 11th seed playing a single elimination game with the 1st through 5th seeds getting a bye into the quarterfinal round.
While the Championship has always been decided by a single game, the other rounds have changed several times over the years. The tournament has currently had an unchanged format since 1998.
- Single elimination, 1995, 2014-Present
- Two games, first team to three points with a mini-game in case of a split: 1985, 1993
- Two games, most goals advances: 1986, 1988
- Single-elimination: 1987, 1989, 1991-92, 1995
- Best-of-three: 1990, 1994, 1996-present
- Single-elimination: 1985-87, 1989-present
- Two games, most goals advances: 1988
Third Place Game:
- Held: 1985-86, 1989, 1993-97
- Not Held: 1987-88, 1990-92, 1998-present
The Final Four round has also had several different locations. In the first two tournaments, the Final Four took place at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1987, it was moved to the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1988, owing to the changed format of the semifinals, only the final game was held at Boston Garden. In 1989 the Final Four was held at Boston College's home, Kelley Rink, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The 1990 edition of the Final Four did not take place at a neutral site, but was effectually split between Maine's Alfond Arena and Kelley Rink. In 1991 the Final Four returned to Boston Garden and remained there until 1995, when the tournament was moved to the Garden's replacement, the FleetCenter (now known as the TD Garden), where the tournament has been held since 1996.
List of Men's Hockey East Champions Edit
- 1985 - Providence
- 1986 - Boston University
- 1987 - Boston College
- 1988 - Northeastern
- 1989 - Maine
- 1990 - Boston College
- 1991 - Boston University
- 1992 - Maine
- 1993 - Maine
- 1994 - Boston University
- 1995 - Boston University
- 1996 - Providence
- 1997 - Boston University
- 1998 - Boston College
- 1999 - Boston College
- 2000 - Maine
- 2001 - Boston College
- 2002 - New Hampshire
- 2003 - New Hampshire
- 2004 - Maine
- 2005 - Boston College
- 2006 - Boston University
- 2007 - Boston College
- 2008 - Boston College
- 2009 - Boston University
- 2010 - Boston College
- 2011 - Boston College
- 2012 - Boston College
- 2013 - UMass-Lowell
- 2014 - UMass-Lowell