PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The NHL's Board of Governors on Monday approved a radical realignment plan, eliminating the current two-conference, six-division setup in favor of a configuration that features four conferences based primarily on geography. Two conferences will have eight teams and the other two conferences will have seven teams.
The Board authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement this proposal in Monday evening's vote, pending input from the National Hockey League Players' Association. The League's intention is for the four-conference set-up to be in place starting with the 2012-13 season.
The vote to approve realignment required a two-thirds majority of the League's 30 governors, and it passed on the first of two days of meetings here at The Inn at Spanish Bay.
The makeup of the yet-to-be-named four conferences is as follows:
* New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina
* Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay
* Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg
* Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado
Realignment was necessary due to the fact that Winnipeg had to move out of the Eastern Conference after playing in the Southeast Division this season due to the late relocation of the franchise from Atlanta to the Manitoba capital.