AHL announces divisional alignment for 2013-14 season

Jim Rogash

Abbotsford switches divisions, while Utica and Iowa find homes in the North and Midwest.

The American Hockey League announced its divisional alignment and playoff format for the 2013-14 season on Thursday.

The playoff format will remain the same, but will be different from the National Hockey League's playoff format, which will change under that league's new alignment. The three division winners in each AHL conference qualify for the top three seeds automatically, while the next five best teams receive wild card berths. The first round of the AHL postseason is a best-of-five while the conference semifinals, conference finals, and Calder Cup Finals are best-of-seven.

Utica and Iowa will return to AHL play in the 2013-14 season, and they've forced the league to realign. The Utica Comets -- the new affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks -- will play in the Western Conference's North Division. The Iowa Wild -- you guessed it, affiliate of Minnesota -- will play in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference.

The complete division alignment of the American Hockey League for 2013-14, complete with NHL affiliates in parenthesis, is as follows:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Manchester Monarchs (LA)
Portland Pirates (PHX)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
St. John's IceCaps (WPG)
Worcester Sharks (SJ)

Northeast Division
Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)
Albany Devils (NJ)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR)
Springfield Falcons (CBJ)

East Division
Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Norfolk Admirals (ANA)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

Western Conference

North Division
Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL)
Lake Erie Monsters (COL)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)
Utica Comets (VAN)

Midwest Division
Chicago Wolves (STL)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Iowa Wild (MIN)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

West Division
Abbotsford Heat (CGY)
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)
San Antonio Rampage (FLA)
Texas Stars (DAL)

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