(NEW YORK) — The NHL Players Association has approved the league’s realignment proposal.
“After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said Thursday night.
The realignment would take place starting next season and would trim the league from a six-division format to a four-division format. The proposal would send Detroit and Columbus to the Eastern Conference.
The four divisions would stack up like this: In the Eastern Conference there would be the Atlantic and Central Divisions and the Western Conference would be made up of the Pacific and Midwest Divisions.
The Atlantic division would include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
The Central Division would be the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators.
The Pacific Division would have the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
The Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predatorsm St. Louis Blues and the Winnipeg Jets would make up the Midwest.
“Our next step will be to bring the proposed plan for realignment to the NHL board of governors for its consideration,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant.”
An ESPN source says the NHL hopes to hold the board of governors vote sometime next week.
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John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN