What will the AHL divisions look like next year?

This map will be changing fairly soon.

The biggest debate now that the AHL West movement is about to be announced, is what will the divisions look like within the AHL next season. There’s a lot of possibilities of course, so I’ll tackle the ones that are being debated with my reasoning on why they’ll be in that spot. This is all going under the assumption that the league keeps the 15/15 split with the conferences, which could always change.

The California division (working name of course) will feature the five new teams making the trip to the West Coast. San Diego, San Jose II, Bakersfield, Ontario, and Stockton. Being as far west as they are, they’ll be seeing a lot of each other.

The current Midwest division features OKC, Texas, San Antonio, Iowa, and Charlotte. With as many teams moving west, I’m putting Charlotte in the east (one of the highly debated topics, I’ll go into it later). And we know by now that Oklahoma City is gone. Joining the Midwest, I’ve got Milwaukee and Rockford. As much as I tried to keep those two with Chicago, the only way that it probably could happen is if the league went with a 16/14 western favor split.

The North loses Rochester and Utica to the east and Adirondack to the move west, they gain Grand Rapids, Lake Erie, and Chicago to join Toronto and Hamilton. If you’re bussing from the east to play in Rockford or Milwaukee, you have to hit Chicago first, prompting my putting Chicago there.

And now we look at the East. In the East division, I’m putting Charlotte. Biggest reason I put Charlotte there, is they’re now an island in the southeast part of the country. This way, they go into a conference where teams are still close and they can get those road trips in easily. They replace the moving Norfolk team to join Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, and Binghamton.

The Northeast division, as much as I’d have loved to put Binghamton here to resurrect the “Empire” division, it didn’t fit well logistically. Rochester and Utica move east to join Syracuse, Albany, and Bridgeport.

And finally in the Atlantic, with Worcester and Manchester leaving, Springfield and Hartford shift over to join St. John’s, Portland, and Providence.

So to recap for the “too long; didn’t read” crowd:

California: Stockton, Bakersfield, San Diego, San Jose II, Ontario
Midwest: Texas, San Antonio, Rockford, Milwaukee, Iowa
North: Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lake Erie, Hamilton Toronto

East: Charlotte, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Binghamton, Hershey, Lehigh Valley
Northeast: Utica, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Bridgeport
Atlantic: Hartford, Springfield, St. John’s, Portland, Providence

Any changes you’d make? Let us know in the comments.

5 comments on “What will the AHL divisions look like next year?”

  1. Per this article: http://blogs.denverpost.com/avs/2015/01/28/ahl-moving-west-will-avalanche-affiliate-follow/20698/
    I think that there is still a chance that Lake Erie loses its affiliation with the Avalanche. I am not sure what contract the Avs have, and if this would be in 2015-16 or 2016-17, but adding a team in either Salt Lake City, Colorado Sprints, or Denver could shake things up considerably. It’s all speculation at this points, but a team based in Salt Lake City/Colorado Springs/Denver would not be the North Division as the Monsters were. Where things end up… who knows? I have a bad feeling that the Ice Hogs could go the way of the Peoria Rivermen.

  2. Minor league hockey in the Denver metro has failed twice in the last decade, and the Springs has two closely-followed college teams already (Colorado College and USAF).

    Utah and Ft. Collins/Longmont would be my guesses, either of which would cause another ECHL team to relocate.

  3. Not how I have it:

    Eastern Conference

    Atlantic Division: Portland/Providence/St. John’s/Hartford/Springfield/Bridgeport
    East Division: Hershey/WB/Scranton/Lehigh Valley/Toronto/Hamilton
    New York Division: Utica/Albany/Syracuse/Rochester/Binghamton

    Western Conference:

    Midwest Division: Rockford/Milwaukee/Grand Rapids/Chicago/Lake Erie
    Central Division: San Antonio/Texas/Charlotte/Iowa
    Pacific Division: San Diego/San Jose/Bakersfield/Ontario/Stockton

    This is being discussed as a 16/14 split just like the NHL, but things will change once the Avs move their franchise out closer to them.

    This makes quite a bit of sense from a logistical standpoint except for Charlotte, as they are still working the old IHL relationship with the other teams, but it’s agreed that it might be for the best they move back east soon. I treat them as like Winnipeg for now.

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