St. John’s AHL team designated to play in the Atlantic division

The yet-to-be-named St. John’s hockey team has been named to the Atlantic division of the American Hockey League. Its new division rivals are: the Manchester Monarchs, the Portland Pirates, the Worcester Sharks, and the Providence Bruins. The league also announced its playoff format. Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds and the next five best teams in order of regular-season points seeded fourth through eighth. The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed. The regular-season schedule format is still to be determined, and the complete playing schedule for the 2011-12 regular season, which begins Oct. 7, will be announced later this summer.

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