AHL realignment places Heat in West Division

Texas teams will be frequent guests at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre this season, after the American Hockey League unveiled a divisional realignment on Tuesday.

Texas teams will be frequent guests at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre this season, after the American Hockey League unveiled a divisional realignment on Tuesday.

The AHL is switching from four divisions in two conferences to a six-division format (three per conference). The Abbotsford Heat are new members of the West Division, joining the Texas Stars, San Antonio Rampage, Houston Aeros and Oklahoma City Barons.

The move means the Heat likely won’t be seeing fellow Canadian teams like the Hamilton Bulldogs or the Toronto Marlies as often this season – both teams are in the reconstituted North Division. The Chicago Wolves, the Vancouver Canucks’ new AHL affiliate, are members of the Midwest Division.

The regular-season schedule format is still to be determined, but Dave Sheldon, the Heat’s director of communication, said the team is hopeful they’ll be able to weight their inter-divisional schedule to include more games against the likes of the Wolves, Marlies and Bulldogs, since those teams remain in the Western Conference with Abbotsford.

Ultimately, the Heat feel the realignment makes sense for them from a geographic standpoint. With the Manitoba Moose moving to St. John’s, Nfld., the Texas teams are Abbotsford’s closest AHL neighbours.

“From our standpoint, it really is the best geographic situation for us,” Sheldon said. “When we’re on the road, we’ve always found our road trips to Texas, San Antonio and Houston to be less exhausting than having to go back east.”

A new format for the 2012 Calder Cup playoffs was also approved by the AHL’s 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.

As was announced earlier this year, the first post-season round will be a best-of-five series; the balance of the playoffs will be best-of-seven.

The complete schedule for the 2011-12 regular season, which begins Oct. 7, will be announced later this summer.

A full listing of the new AHL divisions, with team NHL affiliations in parentheses, is below.




North Division

Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)

Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL)

Lake Erie Monsters (COL)

Rochester Americans (BUF)

Toronto Marlies (TOR)


Midwest Division

Charlotte Checkers (CAR)

Chicago Wolves (VAN)

Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)

Peoria Rivermen (STL)

Rockford IceHogs (CHI)


West Division

Abbotsford Heat (CGY)

Houston Aeros (MIN)

Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)

San Antonio Rampage (FLA)

Texas Stars (DAL)




Atlantic Division

Manchester Monarchs (LA)

Portland Pirates (PHX)

Providence Bruins (BOS)

St. John’s (WPG)

Worcester Sharks (SJ)


Northeast Division

Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)

Albany Devils (NJ)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)

Connecticut Whale (NYR)

Springfield Falcons (CBJ)


East Division

Binghamton Senators (OTT)

Hershey Bears (WSH)

Norfolk Admirals (TB)

Syracuse Crunch (ANA)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

Just Posted

SLIDESHOW: The Fraser Valley Auto Mall food drive and convoy

Convoy heads down South Fraser Way, delivers food and money to the Archway Food Bank of Abbotsford

Sweeney Singers host annual Christmas concert in Abbotsford

Event takes place Saturday, Dec. 21 at St. James Church

Four vehicle accident causing southbound gridlock on Highway 11

Accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. at intersection with Valley Road, ambulance on scene

VIDEO: Canada’s only mobile shower trailer for homeless run by Abbotsford Mennonites

Refresh Mobile Showers started operations on May 1, provided over 550 showers

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Most Read