If your a huge Hockey fan like I am, you were probably happy to hear the NHLPA turned down the realignment proposal put forth by the NHL. It has many flaws, most importantly the conferences are unbalanced and boring. A few years ago I created a proposal that I felt resolved almost all the NHL concerns...
Here is the basis of my proposal...My Idea came from wondering why the NHL does not market the "Original 6" of our sport. It is unique to any other league really and a huge draw for the true hockey fan. My proposal is also forward thinking for a 6 team European division which i believe is inevitable...
?Create a 5 Division League period. 6 Teams in each Division. The emphasis on creating Divisional Rivalries again with a balanced schedule.
|Original 6||Canadian||Northeast||Southeast||West coast|
|Boston||Phoenix||Pittsburgh||St Louis||San Jose|
Here is a breakdown of games...84 Games Total, 2 games more than current. 58 Games Home and Away with every team in the league. 20 additional Divisional Home and Away games (therefore you would play 8 games against every team in your division, ~half of the schedule). Leaving 6 Cross Divisional Premium Games (this is to allow for 1 more game with 1 other division of choice).
You will notice I have phoenix included in the Canadian division. Going forward I believe ultimately phoenix will be moved to a Canadian city. However if this does not happen before realignment you could always move Minnesota given its proximity to the other cities temporally.
The Playoff format would be very similar to the current format, without conferences. Therefore the top 16 teams would qualify for the playoffs. The Divisional Winners would be seeded 1 through 5, and the remaining teams seeded by points.
I look at this format and get excited as a hockey fan...strong divisional rivalries, a larger reward to win your division or finish higher in the standings and play a lower seeded team, a balanced schedule where everyone gets to see every other team and the players every year.
Id appreciate your comments and if you like the format, please share it and spread it around and hopefully someone in the NHL will take notice. Best Regards, Stephen