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AHL With Re-Alignment News, Rule Changes And Video Review

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2012 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded on Thursday, resulted in the following:

2012-13 Alignment/Playoff Format

The Board has approved the following division alignment for the 2012-13 AHL season (NHL affiliates in parentheses):

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Manchester Monarchs (LA)
Portland Pirates (PHX)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
St. John’s IceCaps (WPG)
Worcester Sharks (SJ)

Northeast Division

Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)
Albany Devils (NJ)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Connecticut Whale (NYR)
Springfield Falcons (CBJ)

East Division

Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Norfolk Admirals (ANA)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

Western Conference

North Division

Abbotsford Heat (CGY)
Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL)
Lake Erie Monsters (COL)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)

Midwest Division

Chicago Wolves (VAN)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Peoria Rivermen (STL)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

South Division

Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Houston Aeros (MIN)
Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)
San Antonio Rampage (FLA)
Texas Stars (DAL)

Changes from last year’s alignment include Abbotsford moving to the North Division, Grand Rapids moving to the Midwest Division and Charlotte moving to the renamed South Division.

The regular-season schedule format and Calder Cup Playoffs format are still to be determined, and the complete playing schedule for the 2012-13 regular season, which begins Oct. 12, will be announced later this summer.

Video Review

The Board has approved the use of a video goal-review system for AHL games beginning with the 2012-13 season.

Rules Changes

The AHL has adopted the following rule changes recently approved for use in the National Hockey League:

Rule 67.2 (“Handling the Puck”) now calls for a minor penalty “any time a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck”.

Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”) states that “both players facing off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off.” Violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty for delay of game.

• The Board has also approved a test of a variation on Rule 81 (“Icing”) at the request of the National Hockey League, that will, in the event of a potential icing violation, complete the play should a defending player be the first to reach the end zone face-off dots and provided the puck has crossed the goal line at that point. This rule will be in effect until Nov. 19, 2012, at which time its continued use will be determined by the Board. This was the only rules test approved.

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  Tags: ahl



I’m not sure how well the AHL knows its geography, but the North Division seems a little messed up.  Rather than organizing along East-West lines (as the Conferences would indicate) the North-South alignment means that Toronto has to fly to play Abbotsford for intra-Division games. 

It’s all good for the Northeast Division, where you could hitch-hike between games and be there faster than a flight with Delta, but at least aligning along time zones would help with television/radio tie-ins.  Milwaukee and Oklahoma would have both been better fits for a truly Western conference.  Switch Milwaukee and Abbotsford and the divisions line up much better.

Some would contend that the rivalry between Canadian teams might be a draw, but I think the players might resent the bus trips a little less.  The Marlies have tons of cash for flights (well, MLSE does, but you get the idea) but what about Lake Erie?  Does COL really want to spring for a charter to get to Abbotsford?

Posted by cdndragoon from Kingston, Ontario on 06/28/12 at 09:56 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m glad the Griffins got out of the hell that is the North Division, but that division still sucks and is a joke. Lake Erie and Rochester have to travel to another country just to play 3 teams in their own division?

Rest of the AHL?  Once with STJ in the Atlantic.

Posted by Primis on 06/29/12 at 12:06 AM ET

tkfergy's avatar

I think switching Abbotsford and Charlotte should do the trick for better alignment…

Posted by tkfergy on 06/29/12 at 04:07 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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