NHL Conference Finals - History


For more details on this topic, see Stanley Cup playoffs.

Before the 1967–68 season, the NHL was made up only of a single division. From the 1967–68 season through the 1973–74 season, the NHL was made up of two divisions (as opposed to conferences), the East Division and the West Division.

Following the 1973–74 season, the NHL again realigned. The East and West Divisions were renamed the Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell Conferences, respectively. At the time, the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography and geographical references were removed.

Beginning in the 1981–82 season, the conferences and the playoffs were realigned. The NHL was hoping to reduce travel costs in the face of a struggling economy and high energy prices. The regular season and playoffs were also altered to emphasize divisional match-ups.

Beginning in the 1993–94 season, the names of conferences and divisions were changed to reflect their geographic locations. At the instigation of then-new NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL 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. Therefore, the Campbell Conference became the Western Conference and the Wales Conference became the Eastern Conference. The respective winners of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals receive the Prince of Wales Trophy and Clarence S. Campbell Bowl.

Three currently active franchises (Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets (formerly the Atlanta Thrashers), and Columbus Blue Jackets) have never appeared in a Conference Final. The Hurricanes, when known as the Hartford Whalers, and the Coyotes, when known as the original Winnipeg Jets, never appeared in a Conference Final. The Phoenix Coyotes appeared in their first Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Playoffs, after defeating Nashville in 5 games during the conference semifinals.

Read more about this topic:  NHL Conference Finals

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