Eastern Conference (NHL)


Eastern Conference (NHL)

The Eastern Conference ( _fr. Conférence de l'Est) is one of two conferences in the National Hockey League (NHL) used to divide teams. Its counterpart is the Western Conference.

Previously known as the Prince of Wales Conference (or Wales Conference for short), it was created in 1974 when the NHL realigned its teams into two conferences and four divisions. Because the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography, geographical references were removed. The conference was instead named for the Prince of Wales Trophy.

The Prince of Wales Trophy dates back to 1924, when it was donated to the League by the then-current Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII and is best known under his post-abdication title of the Duke of Windsor. It was originally given to the NHL's champion. (Until 1926, the Stanley Cup was presented to the winner of a post-season playoff between the NHL and Western Hockey League champions.) Since 1926–1927, the Stanley Cup has gone to the NHL's playoff champion. During the years when the NHL had no divisions, (i.e., 1927 and 1938 to 1967), the Prince of Wales Trophy was presented to the league's regular-season champion (analogous to today's President's Trophy.) From 1928 to 1937 the trophy went to the American Division champion, and from 1967 to 1974 it was presented to the East Division champion.

The conferences and divisions were re-aligned in 1981 to better reflect the geographical locations of the teams, but the existing names were retained with the Wales Conference becoming the conference for the NHL's Eastern North America teams. The names of conferences and divisions were changed in 1993 to reflect their geographic locations. Then-new NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the change to help non-hockey fans better understand the game, as the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and Major League Baseball all use geographic-based names for their conferences and divisions. However, the move angered purists and older hockey fans, who felt this change, which overturned two decades of tradition, removed any touch of the history of the league.fact|date=January 2008 Criticswho|date=January 2008 also noted that baseball and football fans would not be confused by divisions being named after major figures like Roberto Clemente or Walter Payton. The trophy awarded to the conference champion, the Prince of Wales Trophy, retains some connection to the heritage of the league.

Divisions

Prior to the 1993 realignment, the Wales Conference consisted of the Adams Division and the Patrick Division. Currently, the Eastern Conference comprises 15 teams in three divisions: Atlantic, Northeast, and Southeast.

;Atlantic
*New Jersey Devils
*New York Islanders
*New York Rangers
*Philadelphia Flyers
*Pittsburgh Penguins;Northeast
*Boston Bruins
*Buffalo Sabres
*Montreal Canadiens
*Ottawa Senators
*Toronto Maple Leafs;Southeast
*Atlanta Thrashers
*Carolina Hurricanes
*Florida Panthers
*Tampa Bay Lightning
*Washington Capitals

Champions


=Stanley Cup champions produced=

* 1975–76 - Montreal Canadiens
* 1976–77 - Montreal Canadiens
* 1977–78 - Montreal Canadiens
* 1978–79 - Montreal Canadiens
* 1981–82 - New York Islanders
* 1982–83 - New York Islanders
* 1985–86 - Montreal Canadiens
* 1990–91 - Pittsburgh Penguins
* 1991–92 - Pittsburgh Penguins
* 1992–93 - Montreal Canadiens
* 1993–94 - New York Rangers
* 1994–95 - New Jersey Devils
* 1999–00 - New Jersey Devils
* 2002–03 - New Jersey Devils
* 2003–04 - Tampa Bay Lightning
* 2005–06 - Carolina Hurricanes


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