Eastern Conference (NHL)

Eastern Conference (NHL)

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Eastern Conference (NHL)

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The Eastern Conference () is one of two conferences in the National Hockey League (NHL) used to divide teams. Its counterpart is the Western Conference.

Previously known as the Prince of Wales Conference (or Wales Conference for short), it was created in 1974 when the NHL realigned its teams into two conferences and four divisions. Because the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography, geographical references were removed. The conference was instead named for the Prince of Wales Trophy.

The Prince of Wales Trophy dates back to 1925, when it was donated to the League by the then-current Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII. It was originally given to the NHL's champion. (Until 1926, the Stanley Cup was presented to the winner of a post-season playoff between the NHL and Western Hockey League champions.) Since 1926–1927, the Stanley Cup has gone to the NHL's playoff champion. During the years when the NHL had no divisions, (i.e., 1927 and 1938 to 1967), the Prince of Wales Trophy was presented to the league's regular-season champion (analogous to today's President's Trophy.) From 1928 to 1937 the trophy went to the American Division champion, and from 1967 to 1974 it was presented to the East Division champion.

The conferences and divisions were re-aligned in 1981 to better reflect the geographical locations of the teams, but the existing names were retained with the Wales Conference becoming the conference primarily for the...
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