The minor league that brought three-on-three overtime to hockey more than a decade before the NHL followed suit is adding a new innovation this season for the playoffs.

The Southern Professional Hockey League will use a “pick your opponent” playoff format, with the first-place team choosing its first-round opponent from the teams that finished from fifth to eighth place, then the second- and third-place teams make their choices before the final two teams get matched up. In the second round, teams will be matched by regular-season points.

SPHL President Jim Combs said he decided to bring this format to his 10-team league after a conversation with an executive from Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, which already uses it.

“I immediately knew this was the greatest idea I’d ever heard,” Combs said. “The person at the top earns the right to pick the weakest of the bottom four.

“He can base it on travel, he can base it on difficulty of opponent, how the (opponent) has been playing the past three or four weeks.”

To add even more intrigue, the SPHL will broadcast the selection show at the end of the season so fans and teams can watch live as the matchups are chosen and extra motivation is created for whichever team is picked as the most desirable playoff opponent.