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ECHL announces revisions to divisional alignment and playoff format


The ECHL announced on Thursday the revised divisional alignment and format for the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs following the approval of seven expansion teams on Tuesday.

As approved by the Board of Governors, the conference and divisional alignment for the 2014-15 season will be as follows:

Eastern Conference

North Division

Cincinnati Cyclones, Evansville IceMen, Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings Toledo Walleye, Wheeling Nailers

East Division

Elmira Jackals, Florida Everblades, Greenville Road Warriors, Gwinnett Gladiators, Orlando Solar Bears, Reading Royals, South Carolina Stingrays

Western Conference

Central Division

Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Missouri Mavericks, Quad City Mallards, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers, Wichita Thunder

Pacific Division

Alaska Aces, Bakersfield Condors, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Ontario Reign, Stockton Thunder, Utah Grizzlies

The top four teams in each division during the regular season will qualify for the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs. All four rounds of the playoffs will be played in a best-of-seven format.

The first two rounds of the playoffs will be played entirely within the division with the division winner meeting the fourth-place finisher and the second-place finisher meeting the team that finished in third place in the Division Semifinals. The Division Finals will pit the winner of each series against each other. The winner of the North Division Finals will meet the winner of the East Division Finals in the Eastern Conference Finals while the winner of the Central Division will meet the winner of the Pacific Division Finals in the Western Conference Finals. The 2015 Kelly Cup Finals will see the Eastern Conference champion take on the Western Conference champion.

Updates to the 2014-15 ECHL playing schedule will be announced within the next few days.

About the ECHL

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and one Canadian province for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 543 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including two who have made his NHL debut in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 28 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.