NHL players' association freezes teams' planned realignment

calexander@newsobserver.comJanuary 6, 2012 

National Hockey League realignment has been put on ice.

The NHL announced Friday that it would not move forward with the realignment plan and new playoff format that was to begin with the 2012-2013 season. The format was approved by the NHL board of governors but the NHL Players Association did not give its consent.

The realignment plan would have divided the 30 teams into four conferences. The Hurricanes would have been in a conference with the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.

“It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a plan that an overwhelming majority of our clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including players,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the plan with no success.

"Because we have already been forced to delay, and as a result are already late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the (plan) for next season."

Daly said the union "acted unreasonably in violation of the league’s rights." He said the NHL would evaluate legal options.

The NHL said it will maintain its current alignment -- Eastern and Western Conference, and divisions -- and playoff format for the 2012-13 season.

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