AHL undergoes divisional realignment

SPRINGFIELD — American Hockey League (AHL) President and CEO David Andrews announced on July 5 that the league’s Board of Governors has approved the following division alignment for the 2011-12 AHL season:

Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division: Manchester Monarchs, Portland Pirates, Providence Bruins, St. John’s and Worcester Sharks.

Eastern Conference, Northeast Division: Adirondack Phantoms, Albany Devils, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Connecticut Whale and Springfield Falcons.

Eastern Conference, East Division: Binghamton Senators, Hershey Bears, Norfolk Admirals, Syracuse Crunch and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Western Conference, North Division: Grand Rapids Griffins, Hamilton Bulldogs, Lake Erie Monsters, Rochester Americans and Toronto Marlies.

Western Conference, Midwest Division: Charlotte Checkers, Chicago Wolves, Milwaukee Admirals, Peoria Rivermen and Rockford IceHogs.

Western Conference, West Division: Abbotsford Heat, Houston Aeros, Oklahoma City Barons, San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars.

The format for the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs was also approved by the Board of Governors. Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds and the next five best teams in order of regular-season points seeded fourth through eighth.

The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.

The regular-season schedule format is still to be determined, and the complete playing schedule for the 2011-12 regular season, which begins Oct. 7, will be announced later this summer.

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