Minor league AHL will have Pacific Division

Minor league AHL will add a Pacific Division, making operations more convenient for Kings and Ducks

An idea hatched by the Ducks nearly a decade ago will become reality Thursday when the American Hockey League announces it will add a Pacific Division in the fall.

The AHL's news conference here at SAP Center will detail plans of how the Kings and Ducks will move their top minor league affiliates to the West Coast as part of a five-team division.

The Ducks are in the final stage of purchasing their minor league affiliate currently based in Norfolk, Va., the Norfolk Admirals, and will move it to the former San Diego Sports Arena, now known as Valley View Casino Center.

The Kings' affiliate will relocate from Manchester, N.H., to Ontario's Citizens Business Bank Arena, a venue owned by the Kings' owner, AEG.

The Sharks' minor league team will play in San Jose, Calgary's affiliate will be in Stockton and Edmonton's will relocate to Bakersfield.

Team officials and coaches declined comment Wednesday. Ducks General Manager Bob Murray, Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman and Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille are scheduled to appear at the news conference.

The AHL Board of Governors voted Sunday to approve the formation of the new Pacific Division.

In addition to cutting travel expenses for the NHL's Pacific Division teams and sparing promoted or demoted players a cross-country flight, the arrival of the AHL is a boon to California fans, who will have access to hockey's premier minor league.

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire

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