New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The NHL Players’ Association gave its consent to play three seasons in the proposed four-division system with playoff wild-card spots and an unbalanced 16/14 split.
The NHL’s realignment plan calls for 16 teams in the Eastern Conference next season, bringing in Columbus and Detroit from the Western Conference, which would be left with 14 teams. The plan also calls for the league to go from its current six-division format to four and introduce wild-card playoff spots within conferences.
But the union will begin to re-evaluate the system after two seasons, as some players reportedly have reservations about unbalanced conferences.
“After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement Thursday night.
All that remains now is for the NHL’s 30 owners to vote on the plan in order for it to go into effect for the 2013-14 season.
“Our next step will be to bring the proposed Plan for Realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration,” stated NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.