On the verge of its 75th season, the AHL is now at an all-time high 30 teams. NHL.com shares the development league’s new conference/divisional alignment, which I captured in a screen shot below. (Click to enlarge)
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the ninth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2009-10.
Earlier this week, the Hershey Bears defeated the Texas Stars to win a second straight Calder Cup. Beyond the great hockey and cozier atmosphere, the AHL often gives hockey fans a chance to see future NHL stars before they turn pro. Watching a young player progress into an NHL-level talent can be a real treat for hockey fans.
Let’s not forget the fact that tickets are often a lot cheaper, too. That doesn’t hurt. One more note about the 2010-11 AHL season from NHL.com
The format for the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs will be determined by the Board of Governors at its Annual Meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C., July 5-8. The complete playing schedule for the 2010-11 regular season, which begins Oct. 8, will be announced later this summer.