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The AHL hasn’t released its schedule yet, and there are good reasons for that…

Via SI's Allan Muir, the Grand Rapids Griffins have been dropping strong Twitter and email hints that their 2014-2015 schedule will be released "soon," and there's a reason for that. The AHL's website posited a story explaining why the AHL a) has to wait for the NHL, NFL and NBA to release their schedules before getting down to schedule-making business, as well as b) why the AHL still believes that a human-authored schedule is better than a computer-generated version:

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 2014-15.

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 vice president of hockey operations. He and Melissa Caruso, the league's director of hockey administration, are charged with transforming the board from its blank starting point to a collage of markers representing the 2014-15 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.

The league’s teams are identified on the big board by magnets of different shapes and colors: green triangle, yellow square, black star, red circle. Each team also gets a cup filled with 38 magnets, one representing each of its home opponents as prescribed by the schedule format.

The teams are lined up on the board from top to bottom by division, with dates stretching from left to right. What results is essentially a 192-by-30 framework, creating those 5,760 blank spaces in which to fill a total of 1,140 games.


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Primis's avatar

The picture at the link of the board they describe in that article is amazing.

Posted by Primis on 08/19/14 at 03:33 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

That sounds miserable.  And that explains why the schedule isn’t there yet.  I’ve been trying to plan a trip to GR and attempting to plan my trip around the Griffins schedule, which has been difficult!

Posted by TreKronor on 08/19/14 at 03:54 PM ET

Primis's avatar

It’s better than the Central Hockey League, which hasn’t released their schedule yet because two teams are allegedly gong to fold but have not done so officially yet.

Posted by Primis on 08/19/14 at 10:45 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.