The Board of Governors of the American Hockey League has announced the re-alignment and playoff format for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. It’s a bit interesting for two new franchises, and thus interesting for everyone else in their divisions. Here is the new alignment chart:
The changes (versus last season) are obvious. The Houston Aeros no longer exist, and are now the Iowa Wild. They’ve moved to the Midwest Division. Also added to the North are the Utica Comets, the newly established Vancouver Canucks affiliate (yes, that’s a long geographical distance between NHL and AHL). For teams in the “South” there is quite a bit of change. First, they changed the name from south to west which is odd considering Charlotte isn’t in either one of those directions on the map unless your perspective is from the Eastern Conference. Second, Abbotsford joins the West Division where their travel schedule continues to be brutal. In all honesty, they are a team hard to place because they are truly west. As mentioned by someone on twitter, the time difference alone between Charlotte and Abbotsford will be confusing considering how often they’ll play in division.
Charlotte will always be a better fit in the Eastern Conference, and Abbotsford will continue to want a Pacific Northwest team to play so that their travel schedule could be slightly eased. In the end, nothing too wild and crazy going on. Likewise, no changes have been made to the playoff format. Still best of five first round, re-seeding from that point forward, then best of seven.