AHL unveils schedule with California teams playing fewer games

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The American Hockey League announced its schedule for the 2015-16 campaign and it’s an unconventional one.

This will mark the first season with the AHL’s new Pacific Division, which includes five California teams (San Jose Barracuda, Bakersfield Condors, Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls, and Stockton Heat). None of those locations hosted AHL teams last season and their presence is something of a geographical hurdle as the most western team after them is the San Antonio Rampage.

What the AHL has done is set up a schedule where those five California teams will play in 68 games while the rest of the league will participate in 76. That’s in contrast to the 2014-15 schedule when every team played in 76 contests.

The league did previously make its intentions regarding the California teams clear, as reported by LA Kings Insider back in June, but at the time it wasn’t clear how this would impact playoff seeding. It’s now known that the AHL will rank teams based on points percentage, which is points earned divided by points available.

The season will begin on Oct. 9 — two days after the NHL’s opening night — and conclude on Apr. 17. You can view the full schedule here.