AHL announces five-team Pacific Division
In this 2005 file photo, AHL president and CEO David Andrews and Mark Chipman, chairman of True North, show off the jerseys for the 2006 AHL All-Star game in Winnipeg. (QMI Agency)
The American Hockey League announced Thursday that it will create a new Pacific Division for the 2015-16 season, comprised of five NHL affiliates that will be based in California.
The AHL Board of Governors approved the moves announced by AHL commissioner David Andrews and the five involved NHL franchises.
"Relocating five teams is a complex process, and we are very excited to have brought this initiative to a successful outcome," Andrews said.
"The Western-based NHL clubs have been in dialogue with our league for almost three years, and today's announcement launches a new era for the American Hockey League and for professional hockey in California."
- Anaheim Ducks will purchase the Norfolk Admirals and relocate them from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego
- Calgary Flames' AHL team will relocate from Glens Falls, N.Y., to Stockton
- Edmonton Oilers' AHL club will move from Oklahoma City, Okla., to Bakersfield
- Los Angeles Kings' AHL club will go from Manchester, N.H., to Ontario
- San Jose Sharks' AHL team will move from Worcester, Mass., to San Jose
Luc Robitaille, president of business operations for the Kings, said, "This is a wonderful growth opportunity for the game of hockey in the Western region and it will have a tremendous impact for years to come."
Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora said, "The immense growth of the game of hockey in the state of California shows that hockey fans here love the game and they support it. Having our top prospects playing on the same coast as our National Hockey League team will greatly enhance our ability to monitor and enhance their development."
Formed in 1936, the American Hockey League is the NHL's top development league. More than 88 percent of NHL players are graduates of the AHL.