It's Official: Five-Team AHL Pacific Division Will Begin Play in 2015-16

Dave Andrews makes the announcement. (Credit: AHL/Oilers TV)
As expected, the American Hockey League announced today the formation of the Pacific Division. The division will host five teams, which are all relocating from east coast cities, all in California.

Here are the moves:
  • Adirondack Flames (Calgary) will move to Stockton, CA.
  • Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton) will move to Bakersfield, CA.
  • Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim) will move to San Diego, CA.
  • Worcester Sharks (San Jose) will move to San Jose, CA.
  • Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles) will move to Ontario, CA.
The press conference was much as expected. GMs called out the big points: higher focus on player development, ability to monitor prospects, and ability to grow the brand of hockey in California. The Oilers' Kevin Lowe said that they expect to add 20-25 days of practice to the schedule thanks to the proximity of all the teams in the division.

Some things to keep an eye on:
  • Brad Treliving alluded to schedule tweaks in favor of development that this California-based division will see. It is unclear what those will be right now. It is assumed fewer games for this division is on the table. It remains to be seen.
  • No comments were made regarding schedule makeup. It is assumed these teams will play each other a lot, but how often will Texas play them? It also remains to be seen.
  • No comments were explicitly made regarding backfilling those relocated teams with ECHL teams. Luc Robataiile said that Manchester would get another team.
The ECHL expects to make its announcements regarding team movement on Friday.