Since the American Hockey League announced in January that it was relocating five franchises to California and creating a Pacific Division, you knew the league was going to have a new look for the 2015-16 season.
That look has been revealed as the AHL approved its division realignment for next season at its Board of Governors Spring Meeting.
There will be two 15-team conferences (Eastern and Western) with one eight-team division
and one seven-team division in each.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, affiliate of the New York Islanders, will be part of the Atlantic
Division along with four other New England-based teams and three Pennsylvania teams.
Here is a look at how the divisions break down:
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders)
Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers)
Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers)
Portland Pirates (Florida Panthers)
Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins)
Springfield Falcons (Arizona Coyotes)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils)
Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators)
Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres)
St. John’s IceCaps (Montreal Canadiens)
Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Utica Comets (Vancouver Canucks)
Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes)
Chicago Wolves (St. Louis Blues)
Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild)
Lake Erie Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Mantioba Moose (Winnipeg Jets)
Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators)
Rockford Icehogs (Chicago Blackhawks)
Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers)
Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings)
San Antonio Rampage (Colorado Avalanche)
San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks)
San Jose Barracuda (San Jose Sharks)
Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames)
Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)
For the past four seasons, Bridgeport has played in the Northeast Division with Hartford and Springfield, so it maintains those rivalries. The Sound Tigers were in the same division as Providence, Portland, Hartford and Springfield during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. And, they were with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Hershey and the Phantoms (then in Philadelphia) for six seasons from 2003-04 to 2008-09.
The Calder Cup playoff format will be finalized at the AHL Board of Governors annual meeting in Hilton Head, S.C., on July 6-9 with the 2015-16 regular-season schedule to be announced later in the summer.
Teams in the AHL this season that were relocated were the Norfolk Admirals, Adirondack Flames, Oklahoma City Barons, Manchester Monarchs and Worcester Sharks. Manchester, Norfolk and Adirondack will be getting the East Coast Hockey League franchises that were in Ontario, Bakersfield and Stockton, respectively, for the 2015-16 season.
Sports writer/copy editor/page designer for daily newspaper in northeastern Pennsylvania for almost 30 years. Adjunct professor, Communications, for 12 years at University of Scranton. Long Island native.