If you want to know who to thank, or blame for that matter, for the realignment set to take place next year, look no further than Winnipeg.

The city’s acquisition of the franchise formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers is what sparked new divisions and a new playoff structure starting next season.

“But for the relocation, this isn’t something we would have undertaken,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a conference call Thursday afternoon, hours after the NHL’s board of governors approved the plans. “It wasn’t unanimous but it was well in excess of the three-quarters that is required by fax vote.”

Dave Isaac covers the Flyers for 97.3 ESPN and The Courier Post.  Reach Dave Isaac at disaac@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @davegisaac.