Out: the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the San Jose Sharks.
In: the Chicago Blackhawks, the Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild, the Nashville Predators, the St. Louis Blues, and the Winnipeg Jets
The NHL Board of Governors approved realignment for the 2013-14 season today, a long-awaited move that will see each NHL team play all 29 other teams over the course of each season. Stars officials were onboard, according to Stars Inside Edge:
“The Dallas Stars enthusiastically support the decision by the NHL Board of Governors for realignment commencing in 2013-14,” said Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites. “Once enacted, the Realignment Plan will put the Stars back in a geographically friendly division and will reignite historical rivalries with teams like Chicago and St. Louis. Virtually all of our divisional games, which make up a significant portion of our schedule, will now start in the Central Time Zone, making our start times more convenient for our broadcast partners, sponsors, and most importantly our fans. We’re also thrilled that our fans will get the opportunity to watch all NHL clubs at American Airlines Center at least once every year. This is a significant change that will greatly benefit all aspects of our franchise for years to come.”
The geographic proximity can’t be overstated, says the Morning News:
The Stars are expected to move into a new division with Minnesota, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Winnipeg and Colorado. That’s a huge difference in distance from playing games in the current Pacific Division with Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix. And games such as Thursday’s 9:30 p.m. start time in Dallas for a big contest against the Kings was just one reason Stars president and CEO Jim Lites has been pushing for this change.
“Honestly, it’s one of the best things that can happen to us,” Lites said of the realignment. “From a competition standpoint, from a cost standpoint, from a player health standpoint, but mostly from the standpoint that this is so much better for our fans.”
The Stars joined the Pacific Division in 1998, and has had some great rivalries with the Sharks, Ducks and Kings. However, many of those games ended in exciting overtime or shootout games past midnight for local viewers.