AHL ANNOUNCES DIVISION ALIGNMENT FOR '11-12

Atlantic Division Trimmed to Five

Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins, entering their 20th season in the American Hockey League, announced today that they will be a part of a five-team Atlantic Division when the AHL opens the 2011-12 season. The league will operate with 30 teams in its 76th campaign as all 30 National Hockey League clubs will be represented by their own primary AHL affiliate.

Providence will remain in the Atlantic Division, which will drop to five teams from the seven it had during the 2010-11 season. Along with the P-Bruins, the Manchester Monarchs, Portland Pirates, St. John's and Worcester Sharks will make up the division.

Below is a complete list of the new 2011-12 conference and divisions, as well as the NHL affiliates of the teams involved.

Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division - Providence (Boston Bruins), Manchester (Los Angeles Kings), Portland (Phoenix Coyotes), St. John's (Winnipeg) and Worcester (San Jose)

Northeast Division - Adirondack (Philadelphia Flyers), Albany (New Jersey Devils), Bridgeport (New York Islanders), Connecticut (New York Rangers) and Springfield (Columbus Blue Jackets)

East Division - Binghamton (Ottawa Senators), Hershey (Washington Capitals), Norfolk (Tampa Bay), Syracuse (Anaheim Ducks) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Western Conference:

North Division - Grand Rapids (Detroit Red Wings), Hamilton (Montréal Canadiens), Lake Erie (Colorado Avalanche), Rochester (Buffalo Sabres) and Toronto (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Midwest Division - Charlotte (Carolina Hurricanes), Chicago (Vancouver), Milwaukee (Nashville Predators), Peoria (St. Louis Blues) and Rockford (Chicago Blackhawks)

West Division - Abbotsford (Calgary Flames), Houston (Minnesota Wild), Oklahoma (Edmonton Oilers), San Antonio (Florida Panthers) and Texas (Dallas Stars)

The AHL Board of Governors also approved the format for the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds. The next five best teams in each conference will also qualify in order of regular-season points seeded fourth through eighth. The conference quarterfinals will be a best-of-five series while the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will all be a best-of-seven series. Teams that advance from the first round will be reordered so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.