What do the terms EASTERN, WESTERN, Atlantic, Northeast, Southeast, Central, Northwest and Pacific mean to you?
Unless you are explaining the weather or refering to geographical locations, they don't mean anything to me.
I don't recall the exact year the division and conference names were changed (somenone help me out on that one) but I do remember thinking "WHAT?!!!" at the time.
Today, I am still thinking "WHAT??!!??!"
Those map locations, originally designed to make the league more "accessible" to "would be" hockey fans, has done nothing but genericize the NHL. While the intent may have been good, the result isn't.
Some people will say that the old names were "cryptic"...but in my opinion, that actually helped the NHL be more distinctive and created an opportunity for dialogue between fans and "fans to be". You never hear anybody say "What does Northeast mean?" But, back in the day, people were naturally curious about why a division was named "Patrick" or "Norris" or "Smythe". And natural curiosity lead to questions...and questions with meaningful answers lead to the creation of a "memory marker", if you will. And most importantly, a sense of tradition was established.
The NHL teams compete for one of the oldest trophies in sports. A trophy and a league that is very deep in tradition. We need to bring that "tradition" back to the forefront and renaming the divisions and conferences is a step in the right direction.
I say we start a petittion to do this. Who's with me?
Don't worry about there being more teams and divisions than before, there are plenty of other people from the history of this sport who deserve to have their names tied to it...
Let's get the puck moving int he right direction...