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Crafting the AHL schedule, 1 piece out of 5,760 at a time

From TheAHL.com:

The making of the 2015-16 AHL schedule is a process that actually began about six months ago, and will culminate when the final product is released to the public in the coming weeks. (Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates regarding the release of the schedule.)

The AHL’s constitution calls for each member club to submit to the league, in February of the previous season, a list of "primary" and "secondary" dates on which they would be available to play at home, along with "blackout" dates when they cannot play at home because of other events in their arena.

In the spring, the AHL confirms for each team a list of guaranteed dates for the upcoming season -- dates on which the team is assured of playing a home game, albeit without a specific opponent just yet. This allows clubs to begin making preparations and drumming up interest in the coming year. Many teams have already announced their guaranteed dates, some including their home openers, for 2015-16.

Once a schedule format (who plays whom, and how often) is designed by and approved by the Board of Governors, the schedule can truly begin to take shape.

The schedule board hangs on one full wall in the office of Michael Murray, the AHL's executive vice president of hockey operations. He and Melissa Caruso, the league's VP of hockey administration, are charged with transforming the board from its blank starting point to a collage of markers representing the 2015-16 slate.

Creating the schedule is a tedious process, not unlike putting together a 5,760-piece jigsaw puzzle without a picture on the box to work from. Computerized scheduling programs have been considered, but the manual process continues to produce the best results.


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Hank1974's avatar

They do this manually??? Wow!
I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to this stuff. I’m a member of my local baseball board and I have to do a lot of scheduling for the various leagues and divisions.
I actually really enjoy it. But that’s merely getting a schedule together for 12 to 16 teams per division.
I feel like that’s a nightmare at times.
I can’t imagine the work that goes into making a 5760 game schedule.
My head would explode.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/14/15 at 06:09 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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