It’s official now and there’s no turning back–not for three seasons, anyway–as the NHL Board of Governors has approved realignment. The Boston Bruins are set to move into a division with the Montreal Canadiens (at least some rivalries are still sacred), Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and then the two that could easily be the solution in a game of two of these things are not like the other, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
This division goes by the fun, exciting, temporary name of, drumroll please, Division C. But as the league mulls over what to call these four new divisions, it’s clear they should eschew the blah-sounding geographical names and return to the past in more ways than one. However, even though player agent and Twitter aficionado Allan Walsh was actually kind of kidding when he suggested the divisions be named for the time zones they occupy, it does kind of make sense in a way. Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific Divisions don’t sound terrible, just boring.
Which is how all the other three major sports in America subdivide their teams. The MLB has the National and American Leagues, each of them divided further into the East, Central and West divisions on each side. The NBA‘s divisions sound pretty familiar: Eastern Conference, Western Conference, Atlantic, Central, Southeast, Northwest, Pacific, Southwest. The NFL’s American and National conferences are each divided into all four of the cardinal directions.
But the NHL is different in the best of ways. Why not throw back to the storied past of the league and name the divisions for great players who once played for a team in each division instead of just taking the bland geographical way out?
In that case, Division C has particularly rich histories from which to draw potential names. There are guys like Maurice Richard, Ken Dryden, Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Dave Andreychuk, Tim Horton, Pat LaFontaine and on and on who could be considered from any of the teams in the division. However, in my view, the division christening rights should go right to one Robert Gordon Orr, Order of Canada.
It’s practically a no-brainer. Bobby Orr was one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He made history in many ways, was the first defenseman to do many things (like score 30 and then 40 goals in a single season), is the only defenseman to score nine hat tricks, the only d-man to ever lead the league in scoring (which he did twice), once won four trophies in one season, never had a plus/minus rating lower than +30, is second all-time in career plus-minus and was named the top defenseman of all time by The Hockey News. He got into the Hall of Fame without having to wait three years, too. That literally just scratches the surface of his total accolades.
He would probably be delighted to have the division named after him, though he’d shrug it off with a humble little chuckle and get back to work representing players of a new generation since he makes a living as an agent now.
But it’s a brilliant idea and a great way to pay tribute to past hockey greats–which is why the NHL will most likely not do anything of the sort when naming these new divisions.
Ah well, a woman can dream, right?