The Western Collegiate Hockey Association's annual postseason playoff tournament, which was introduced for the 1959-60 season, has included numerous formats over the past 50-plus years.
Formats have included: one round of four teams (1960-61); one round and a finals (1961-62); one round and a championship game (1962-65); two rounds with eight teams (1965-68); eight teams at East and West regionals (1968-71); eight teams in two rounds of two-game total goals series (1971-76, 1977-81); eight teams in two rounds of two-game total goals series plus a two-team championship (1976-77, 1981-87); an opening round, best-of-three series at campus sites followed by a four-team playoff championship at one venue (1988-92); and a first round, best-of-three series at campus sites followed by a WCHA Final Five at one venue (1993-present).
Since 1982, the WCHA has crowned one annual playoff champion and presented either the Broadmoor Trophy (1985 to present) or the MacNaughton Cup (1982-84).
Beginning in 2017, the entire WCHA postseason tournament – from the quarterfinals through the championship game – will be hosted by the highest remaining seeds at on-campus venues. Bringing the singular intensity and passion of playoff college hockey directly to its member institution fans, the "2017 WCHA Playoffs" will consist of four (4) best-of-three, quarterfinal round series hosted by the league's top four regular-season finishers the weekend of March 3-5, followed by two (2) best-of-three semifinal round series hosted by the highest remaining seeds the weekend of March 10-12. The "2017 WCHA Championship" will be a single game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, Saturday, March 18.
The second of the WCHA's two major championship trophies for men's competition is the Broadmoor Trophy, which has been awarded annually since 1985 to the winner of the conference's postseason championship tournament.
The history of the Broadmoor Trophy dates to 1981, when it was first presented to the conference by the world-renowned Broadmoor Hotel and Resort Complex of Colorado Springs, Colo. For the first three seasons of its partnership with the WCHA (1981-1984) – and due to the departure of league member and MacNaughton Cup (regular season championship trophy) custodian Michigan Tech to the CCHA – the Broadmoor Trophy was presented to the Association's regular season champion. But when the Huskies returned to the WCHA in 1984 – with the MacNaughton Cup in hand – the Broadmoor Trophy became, and has remained since, the symbol of the league's postseason tournament championship.
In March of 2010, in conjunction with the annual WCHA Final Five, the Association unveiled a striking new Broadmoor Trophy. The new bronze cast trophy, created by Blue Ribbon Trophies & Awards of Colorado Springs, Colo., is a recreation of the famous Broadmoor Hotel. Long an ardent supporter of college hockey, the Broadmoor Hotel included the former Broadmoor World Arena, which hosted the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship a total of 11 times between 1948 and 1969.
There are a total of three Broadmoor trophies. The largest has been on display in recent years at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul in conjunction with the WCHA Final Five, one is a traveling trophy, and one is awarded to the winning team each year as a permanent addition to their display case.