ARIZONA COYOTES

Arizona Coyotes to move to NHL’s Central Division in 2021-22

Dec 4, 2018, 8:41 AM | Updated: 1:22 pm
Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith (15) checks Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse (67)...
Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith (15) checks Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse (67) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 2-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A deal to move the Arizona Coyotes to the Central Division was part of the Seattle expansion package that passed unanimously at the NHL’s Board of Governor’s meetings on Tuesday.

The move will come as a new expansion team in Seattle will join the league and begin play in the year 2021.

Because the Pacific Division has eight teams and the Central only has seven, adding Seattle to the league in the Pacific and then realigning one team to the Central made mathematical sense.

Commissioner Gary Bettman that time zone, scheduling and the Coyotes’ better attendance in games against Central Divison teams all will make Arizona’s transition to the Central Division “easier,” via TSN’s Darren Dreger.

“We are happy to welcome Seattle as the NHL’s 32nd franchise as the NHL continues to grow the game of hockey throughout North America,” Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen said in a statement from the team. “We will work with the League to ensure a smooth transition into the Central Division in time for the 2021-22 season, and we appreciate the League’s willingness to assist with logistics and scheduling to make travel as easy as possible between our home in Phoenix and the other Central destinations.

“Our fans should take comfort in knowing they will continue to see us play our Pacific Division rivals multiple times a year — including squaring off with Vegas for desert bragging rights — while also getting to see new rivalries with some legacy franchises. Regardless of what division we are in, our goals remain the same: win on the ice against whomever they put in front of us on the schedule, build Coyotes fandom throughout the entire State of Arizona, and positively impact our Arizona community.”

At the moment, the Central is clearly a much stronger division than the Pacific. The Pacific’s first-place Calgary Flames have 31 points in the standings, while that same amount of points in the Central would tie a team for third place with the Winnipeg Jets. However, because Seattle won’t begin play until the 2021-22 season, things could change a lot by then.

The Central currently features the 2018 President’s Trophy-winning Nashville Predators; the Colorado Avalanche, which features the so-called “best line in hockey” with Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, who have combined for 118 points this year; and the Winnipeg Jets, who went to the Western Conference Finals in 2018 and lost to the Vegas Golden Knights; along with the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong and assistant general manager John Ferguson (Screens...
Kellan Olson

New Coyotes assistant GM attracted to team’s vision, long-term upside

The Arizona Coyotes are in a full-fledged rebuild, and the commitment to that vision excites new assistant GM John Ferguson.
2 days ago
The NHL logo displayed behind a hockey net during intermission between the Montreal Canadiens and t...
Associated Press

NHL expects 98% of players to be vaccinated before season

The NHL estimates 98% of players will be vaccinated on the league's 32 teams across North America.
2 days ago
Executive Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson Jr. attends the 2014 NHL Entry Draft at Wells ...
Sam Graveline

Coyotes name John Ferguson assistant GM, GM of Tucson Roadrunners

Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong named John Ferguson assistant General Manager and General Manager of the Tucson Roadrunners on Wednesday.
2 days ago
@ArizonaCoyotes/Twitter...
Sam Graveline

Coyotes to play in ‘Kraft Hockeyville’ preseason game in El Paso

The Coyotes are heading to El Paso, Texas, to take on the Dallas Stars in a preseason game on Oct. 3 as a part of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2020.
3 days ago
Ottawa 67's Associate Coach Mario Duhamel talks to the media after Ontario Hockey League action bet...
Tom Kuebel

Coyotes add Mario Duhamel, confirm 3 others to 2021-22 coaching staff

The Coyotes announced the hiring of new assistant coach Mario Duhamel and the return three other assistant coaches.
5 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Associated Press

Tech data shows Arizona’s busy sports gambling activity

"Arizona ... had more wagered online than mature states like Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee at the FanDuel Sportsbook,” a spokesman said.
5 days ago
Arizona Coyotes to move to NHL’s Central Division in 2021-22