It was reported incorrectly in yesterday's editions of The Evening Sun that the Skipjacks would play 10 games in the Maritimes provinces this season, making two trips. The Skipjacks will make just one trip to the Maritimes, playing five games. The Evening Sun regrets the error.
Skipjacks owner Tom Ebright has called the realignment of the American Hockey League "inevitable" ever since whispers came from the north that St. John's, Newfoundland, could be joining the league.
Yesterday, the AHL announced that the coming season would (( feature three divisions, with inter-division rivalry and travel budget cuts as the top priorities.
The Jacks, who finished in third place in the Southern Division last season, will remain there this season but Capital District and Adirondack have moved into the Northern Division.
The Jacks' sister team in the new setup will be Hershey, whom they will face 16 times this season. Rochester, Binghamton and Utica -- the other three teams remaining in the Southern Division -- will face the Jacks eight times. The Jacks will also play each Northern Division team except for Maine six times, and each Maritime team plus Maine four times apiece.
Ebright wanted the schedule arranged so the Jacks -- the southern-most AHL team -- would need to make just one trip to the Maritimes. With 10 games slated for the Canadian provinces, it now appears the Jacks will have to go north twice, doubling what it cost the team last year.
The new system also plays havoc on the playoff positioning of the teams, but the top four from each division will make the playoffs. When division winners are crowned, the team with the best overall record will receive a semifinal bye to the Calder Cup finals. The semifinal round will be a best-of-three, while the others are best-of-seven.
THE NEW AHL
Baltimore Skipjacks (Washington)
Hershey Bears ( Philadelphia)
Rochester Americans (Buffalo)
Binghamton Rangers(New York)
Utica devils (New Jersey)
Capital District Islanders (New York)
Adirondack Red Wings (Detroit)
New Haven Nighthawks(Independent)
Springfield Indians (Harford)
Moncton Hawks (Winnipeg)
Cape Breton Oilers (Edmonton)
St. John's Maple Leafs( Toronto)