SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- With changes abounding,
the American Hockey League on Tuesday announced its conference
and divisional alignments for the 2001-2002 season.
The realignment features nine new AHL cities, bringing the
league's membership to 27 teams in six divisions and two
conferences. Last season, the AHL featured four divisions and
Six of the new clubs in the league this season will be from the
International Hockey League, which ceased operations following
this past season.
Each AHL club will play an unbalanced 80-game schedule featuring
traditional and regional rivalries. In total, 1,081 regular
season games will be played when the AHL's 66th season gets
under way on Oct. 5 and concludes on April 7.
The Calder Cup playoff format will be determined at the annual
meeting, which will take place from July 9-12 in Hilton Head,
East Division: Hartford Wolf Pack, Albany River Rats, Bridgeport
Sound Tigers, Providence Bruins and Springfield Falcons.
North Division: Lowell Lock Monsters, Manchester Monarchs,
Portland Pirates and Worcester Ice Cats.
Canadian Division: Hamilton Bulldogs, Manitoba Moose, Quebec
Citadelles, Saint John Flames and St. John's Maple Leafs.
West Division: Chicago Wolves, Grand Rapids Griffins, Houston
Aeros, Milwaukee Admirals and the Utah Grizzlies.
Central Division: Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Cleveland, Rochester
Americans and Syracuse Crunch.
South Division: Hershey Bears, Norfolk Admirals, Philadelphia
Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.