The American Hockey League has released its new alignment for the 2011-12 season. The change was made to accommodate the relocation of the Manitoba Moose to St. John's, Newfoundland.
The Moose played their home games in Winnipeg's MTS Centre, which will now be used for the new Winnipeg Jets team. Manitoba was previously the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, but will now serve as the Jets' minor league partner. Both the Moose and Jets are owned by True North Sports and Entertainment. The Chicago Wolves, Atlanta's former affiliate, will now serve as Vancouver's farm system.
The new alignment moves the Moose out of the Western Conference's North Division and into the East, where they will play in the Atlantic Division. Also moving out of the North are the Abbotsford Heat, who move to the West Division.
Detroit's affiliate in Grand Rapids will remain unchanged in the North Division. The AHL mirrors much how the NHL is now, with six five-team divisions and the top eight teams from each conference will now make the playoffs, with the top three seeds to the division winners.
Here's the full alignment of teams, with affiliates in parentheses
Atlantic: Manchester (LA), Portland (PHX), Providence (BOS), St. John's (WPG), Worchester (SJ)
Northeast: Adirondack (PHI), Albany (NJ), Bridgeport (NYI), Connecticut (NYR), Springfield (COL)
East: Binghamton (OTT), Hershey (WAS), Norfolk (TB), Syracuse (ANA), Wilkes-Barre (PIT)
North: Grand Rapids (DET), Hamilton (MTL), Lake Erie (COL), Rochester (BUF), Toronto (TOR)
Midwest: Charlotte (CAR), Chicago (VAN), Milwaukee (NAS), Peoria (STL), Rockford (CHI)
West: Abbotsford (CGY), Houston (MIN), Oklahoma City (EDM), San Antonio (FLA), Texas (DAL)