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QMJHL reduces regular-season schedule, switches to four-division format

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BOUCHERVILLE, Que. - The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is undergoing a major facelift in time for next season.

QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau confirmed Thursday the league will move to a four-division system beginning in 2008-09, a significant change from the current two-division format. The schedule will be reduced from 70 to 68 games, and the playoff format will also be altered.

"After taking into account club requests and a thorough analysis, I am pleased to announce that the QMJHL will harbour four divisions next season," said Courteau.

The Telus West Division will consist of the Gatineau Olympiques, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Val-d'Or Foreurs and Montreal Juniors, who are being relocated from St. John's, N.L.

The Drummondville Voltigeurs, Lewiston Maineiacs, Shawinigan Cataractes and Victoriaville Tigres comprise the Telus Centre Division, while the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Quebec Remparts and Rimouski Oceanic will make up the Telus East Division.

The remaining six teams - the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Halifax Mooseheads, Moncton Wildcats, P.E.I. Rocket and Saint John Sea Dogs - will form the Atlantic Division.

The two teams with the worst regular-season records will be left out of the playoffs, with first-round games being played between teams in the same division. Teams will then be seeded to decide second-round pairings.

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