Story from the NAHL. I got this from the PR crew of the Bismarck Bobcats via their Twitter feed. Apparently there's going to be five divisions in the league for next year. The Jr. Blues, St. Louis Bandits, Janesville Jets and Chicago Hitmen will be joined by the Coulee Region Chill in a new Midwest Division.
The four Michigan-based teams (Michigan, Port Huron, Traverse City and Zeppo, er, Kalamazoo's new Jr. K-Wings) and one New York-based team (the Jamestown Ironmen, formerly the Motor City Metal Jackets) are now in the "North" Division. Last year's North Division, containing teams from Minnesota and the Dakotas will now be the "Central" Division. There must be some kind of hatred for the word "East" in the NAHL's Texas headquarters.
Geographically speaking, the teams finally make better sense in terms of travel, with one that should go in the Central Division: the Topeka Roadrunners. Now, Springfield and St. Louis both have a history with Topeka's team, so I could easily have seen them add Topeka to the Central Division and take a little scheduling pressure off of the South. The South Division is now the oversized division of the group with seven teams (Odessa has replaced its CHL franchise with an NAHL franchise and retained the Jackalopes name). Moving Topeka to the Central would result in three divisions having six teams (Midwest, South, and West) and two divisions having five teams (Central and North). I guess the drive to Onalaska, WI (Coulee Region's home city) from Topeka is a longer distance than from Topeka to Corpus Christi or Rio Rancho, NM.
Considering how the NAHL schedules its teams to play almost entirely within its division for the year, I think this will reduce a lot of travel fatigue for the North, Central and Midwest divisions.
Now, to get my season tickets and save up some dough to go boo the Bandits when the Jr. Blues play in Chesterfield...
(edited to reflect changes made between now and the original post. The Central Division was originally called the "Minnkota" and the Midwest Division was originally the "Central.")