NHL set to shift teams between conferences

Sarah Hulett Nov 25, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: The National Hockey League champions, the Boston Bruins will try to extend a ten game winning streak today against the Detroit Red Wings. But it turns out the real drama in hockey is off the ice. The NHL’s Board of Governors is getting ready to vote on a realignment plan to move different teams into different conferences.

And as Sarah Hulett reports where the teams end up is likely to have more to do with money than geography.

Sarah Hulett: The Winnepeg Jets are now stuck in the Southeast Division of the NHL’s Eastern Conference — along with teams from sunny places like Tampa, and south Florida. It’s widely expected the Jets will move to the Western Conference next year. And that leaves an opening in the Eastern Conference — an opening the Detroit Red Wings would love to grab. They’re one of two Western Conference teams located in the Eastern time zone. The other is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rod Fort is a sports economist at the University of Michigan. He says despite the uncertainty of who will go —

Rod Fort: One thing you can rest assured. It’s unlikely that the rearrangement will decrease the revenues in the NHL.

Fort says the NHL will probably pick the option that generates —

Fort: As much TV money as they can.

Given the Red Wings’ success over the years and their popularity outside Detroit, hockey fans in the East will be seeing a lot more of that jersey with the winged tire.

I’m Sarah Hulett for Marketplace.

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