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Move to Winnipeg would force Avalanche to Pacific Division

According to a CBC report, the NHL has drawn up a 2010-2011 schedule that includes a Winnipeg team as part of a contingency plan should the NHL fail to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. Moving the franchise from Phoenix to Winnipeg drastically alters the geography of the Western Conference. As such, the report states that the Jets would play in the Northwest Division and the Colorado Avalanche would then move to the Pacific.

That’s right, we’d have the Avalanche in the Pacific. A division that was superbly tough last season will only get much harder next year, especially if the Avs continue to build upon a big year this season.

Some think that the NHL should have moved the Vancouver Canucks, who sit on the West Coast, but there’s thought that the league would want to keep the Northwest Division as full of Canadian teams as possible.

Also in the CBC report, we learn that the City of Glendale is facing economic trouble on the eve of a vote to financially back the team for losses for this past season and next. If the council votes against the proposal, then we’re almost certain to see the franchise moved to Winnipeg.

Phil Lieberman, a councillor in Glendale for 19 years, says the city is already in serious financial trouble, facing a $14.7-million budget shortfall this year.

“And I’m supposed to vote to give the NHL an unlimited amount of money? If that isn’t tough, I don’t know what is,” Lieberman said, adding that he intends to oppose the motion.

Despite the financial troubles of the city, the council will be reluctant to give up on the team it made such a major investment when moving the team to Glendale in the first place. Even a vote to keep the team won’t necessarily be enough, however, as the NHL is wanting a buyer for the team as soon as possible. So far, even if the city agrees to pay back the NHL for losses for this past season, they have yet to come close to an agreement with a potential buyer.