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NHL realignment on hold after union balks

8:07 PM, Jan 6, 2012   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - A plan to re-align the NHL into four conferences and modify the playoff format was put on hold after the players' union denied its consent for the move, the NHL said Friday.

The new plan to eliminate the current two-conference, six-division model was supposed to be implemented in the 2012-13 season. Instead, the league will maintain its current alignment and playoff format.

"It is unfortunate that the [NHL Players' Association] 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 realignment plan and modified playoff format for next season.

"We believe the union acted unreasonably in violation of the league's rights. We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate."

The Sports Network

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