NHL division names: Pacific, Central, Atlantic and ... Metropolitan?

USA TODAY Sports

The NHL's new division names have been announced: Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan.

The NHL is realigning for the 2013-14 season, and with a six-division league being trimmed down to four divisions, the league had to make changes to those division names. After much speculation, the four division names will keep a geographical bent ... sort of, except that the Pacific, Central and Atlantic divisions will be joined with something called the "Metropolitan Division."

Pacific Division Central Division Metropolitan Division
Atlantic Division
Anaheim Chicago Carolina Boston
Calgary Colorado Columbus Buffalo
Edmonton Dallas New Jersey Detroit
Los Angeles Minnesota NY Islanders Florida
Phoenix Nashville NY Rangers Montreal
San Jose St. Louis Philadelphia Ottawa
Vancouver Winnipeg Pittsburgh Tampa Bay
Washington Toronto

The Pacific, Central and Atlantic Divisions are all traditional and what we're used to, but Metropolitan Division is a bit of a curveball. The three New York-area teams are in the same metropolitan area and maybe Philadelphia could be lumped in there, too ... even Washington, possibly, if one wants to push it. But Columbus, Pittsburgh and Carolina are in no way in the same metropolitan area, so it's a bit weird and a lot of people will make jokes about it.

The NHL had a tough problem to solve in naming the four divisions if they were set on using geographically-based names because Florida and Tampa Bay were put in a division with Boston and Montreal. Suffice it to say, it's hard to create a division name based on geography, but his is apparently their solution.

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