Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hockey Starts to Clear the Clutter

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hockey Starts to Clear the Clutter

Article excerpt

THE National Hockey League has begun to go "progressive." The latest sign of forward motion came last week, with the announcement that the league would scrap the confusing names it uses to identify conferences and divisions.

Beginning next season the Clarence Campbell and Prince of Wales conferences will become "Western" and "Eastern," respectively. At the same time, the divisions - now known as the Smythe, Norris, Patrick, and Adams - will be renamed the Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and Northeast.

The NHL, under new commissioner Gary Bettman, apparently concluded that there are better ways to pay tribute to hockey's heritage, including its great names, than to use them in staking out what are really geographical groupings. Bettman, who came over from the National Basketball Association where he played a key role in that league's phenomenal growth, obviously is bringing some NBA concepts with him.

Besides the name changes, hockey is rejigging some of the divisional alignments as new franchises are added in Anaheim, Calif., and Miami next season. The playoff format is also being restructured and will bear a strong resemblance to the system used in basketball. In a nutshell, qualifiers will be determined more by conference than on a divisional basis, thus presumably rewarding the best overall teams. Wimbledon keeps on the grass

Tennis traditionalists breathed a sigh of relief last week upon learning of Wimbledon's plans for a major facelift. Assuming the proper permits are granted, the All England Club outside London will begin to enlarge and modernize its facilities during the next two or three years without altering the complex's essentially English character.

Translation: The club will stick with grass and open-air courts despite the groundskeeping requirements and perennial rain delays.

"The uniqueness of Wimbledon is grass. There really is no other alternative," said club chairman John Curry in announcing a 20-year master plan that will increase the maximum daily attendance by 25 percent, to 35,000. …

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