NHL realignment gives Blackhawks three new rivalries

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — NHL officials approved a radical realignment plan Monday that will give the league four conferences instead of six divisions and guarantee home-and-home series among all teams.

The Blackhawks’ new conference would retain the teams currently in their division and add the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets.

The Board of Governors authorized NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement the proposal pending input with the NHL Players’ Association. It could be put in place as early as next season.

The league considered two plans to accommodate Atlanta’s move to Winnipeg last summer.

The first would have simply moved the Jets to the Central Division and either Detroit or Columbus to the Southeast.

The board opted to go with the more dramatic switch, creating four geographic conferences — two with eight teams and two with seven. The conferences have not been named.

The new look would feature two conferences with seven teams all based in the Eastern time zone. One conference would include New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina.

The other would include Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay.

The third conference consists of eight teams in the Eastern and Central time zones: the Blackhawks, Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg.

The fourth conference has eight teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.