California Dreaming: Changes to the AHL and ECHL Officially Announced

It is probably a good thing hockey brass do not have security clearances.

The American Hockey League officially announced their long-expected, terribly-kept secret pertaining to the AHL West movement within their league for the upcoming 2015 – 2016 season.

The AHL has created of a new division within the league entitled the Pacific Division. The new division will include five new, California-based teams: Bakersfield (Edmonton), Ontario (Los Angeles), San Diego (Anaheim), San Jose (San Jose), and Stockton (Calgary).

With the announcement by the AHL on Thursday in San Jose, the East Coast Hockey League also announced amendments to their league on Friday.

Who’s Moving

AHL

  • Adirondack Flames (Calgary) will move to Stockton, CA. No name has been announced thus far.
  • Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim) will move to San Diego, CA. The official name and logo will be released on February 22nd.
  • Worcester Sharks (San Jose) will move to San Jose, CA and will not be named the Sharks. Both teams in San Jose will share the SAP Center.
  • Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles) will move to Ontario, CA and will be renamed the Ontario Reign. A new logo will be released on February 2nd.
  • Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton) will move to Bakersfield, CA and the ‘Name-The-Team’ contest deadline is February 15th.

ECHL

  • Ontario Reign personnel move to Manchester, NH and will be renamed the Manchester Monarchs.
  • Bakersfield Condors personnel move to Norfolk, VA and will be renamed the Norfolk Admirals, possibly the Hampton Roads Admirals.
  • Stockton Thunder personnel move to Glens Falls, NY and will most likely be renamed the Adirondack Flames, possibly the Adirondack Thunder. A three-year commitment has been signed with the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Shuffling Around

Both leagues will have to change around their divisions.

The AHL’s Monarchs and Sharks will be leaving the Atlantic Division, the Flames will be leaving the North Division, the Admirals will be leaving the East Division, and the Barons will be departing the West Division.

In the ECHL, it is more of a jumble. The Condors, Reign, and Thunder will all be leaving the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and Manchester, Norfolk, and Adirondack will all be headed across the continent  to join the Eastern Conference.

Here’s my stab at new-look divisions for both leagues next year:

New AHL Divisions Prediction:

Eastern Conference

Northeast: Toronto, Hamilton, Portland, Providence, St. John’s

Atlantic: Albany, Hartford, Springfield, Bridgeport, Utica

East: Lehigh, Hershey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Binghamton, Syracuse

Western Conference

Midwest: Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lake Erie, Milwaukee, Rochester

*South: Charlotte, Iowa, Rockford, San Antonio, Texas

*Pacific: *Bakersfield, *Ontario, *San Diego, *San Jose, *Stockton

Possible New AHL Alignment

New ECHL Divisions Prediction:

Eastern Conference

North: *Adirondack, Brampton, Elmira, Kalamazoo, *Manchester, Toledo, Wheeling

East: Florida, Greenville, Gwinnett, *Norfolk, Orlando, Reading, South Carolina

Western Conference

*West (formerly Pacific): Alaska, Allen, Colorado, Idaho, Rapid City, Utah, Tulsa

Central: Cincinnati, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indy, Missouri, Quad City, Wichita

New Possible ECHL Divisions

* = denotes new team or divisional name


Notes: Both Worcester, MA and Oklahoma City, OK will not receive an AHL or ECHL team for next year as it stands right now….unrelated news, the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) could not secure a facility for next season and will withdraw from the league after this season.

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