The American Hockey League announced a new divisional alignment Tuesday as its annual Board of Governors meetings continued in Hilton Head, S.C.
The Oklahoma City Barons remain in the West Division with Houston, San Antonio, Texas and Abbotsford in the new six-division alignment.
The other teams that were in the West last season — Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria and Rockford — will be joined by Charlotte in the Midwest Division.
The other Western Conference division, the North, will feature Grand Rapids, Hamilton, Lake Erie, Rochester and Toronto.
The realignment was necessitated by Winnipeg's return to the NHL and the city's AHL team — and new Jets affiliate — moving to St. John's, Newfoundland.
St. John's will move to the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, while Charlotte moved to the Western Conference and the Midwest Division.
The playoff format also was adjusted.
The division winners will earn the top three seeds in each conference, while the next five teams will earn the fourth-eighth seeds. After the first round of playoffs, which will be best-of-five series, the brackets will be reseeded so that the highest remaining seed will play the lowest in each conference. All subsequent rounds of playoffs remain best-of-seven.
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