Just in case you’ve been enjoying the summer, here’s what has been going on around the American Hockey League in terms of changes in cities, affiliations, divisions, and rules.
New Cities / New Team
The Quad City Flames moved from Moline, Illinois to Abbotsford, British Columbia and and are now called the Abbotsford Heat. They are still the affiliate of the Calgary Flames.
The Philadelphia Phantoms moved from Philadelphia to Glens Falls, NY and are now known as the Adirondack Phantoms. They remain the affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.
A new team joined the league called the Texas Stars located in Cedar Park, Texas. Cedar Park is about a half hour North of Austin. They are the affiliate of the Dallas Stars. The team was granted limited membership into the league. The limited membership is conditioned on the completed purchase of an existing AHL franchise within one year, by April 2010.
The Iowa Chops was involuntarily suspended by the league for the 2009/2010 season. “The Iowa franchise has unfortunately been unable to remedy certain violations of the provisions of the league’s Constitution and By-Laws,” said American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews.
Oklahoma City could be the home of the Edmonton Oilers dormant AHL franchise for the 2010/2011 season. Edmonton Oilers GM: “We have an interest in Oklahoma City”
There are two affiliation changes heading into the new season:
The Anaheim Ducks will be sharing a dual affiliation with the Phoenix Coyotes in San Antonio. The Ducks were forced to find a new affiliation with the suspension of the Iowa Stars.
The Dallas Stars will have their own affiliation with the Texas Stars in Cedar Park. During the 2008/2009 the Dallas Stars had prospects sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs, Manitoba Moose, Peoria Rivermen, and Grand Rapids Griffins.
Along with the changes in cities above there was also some re-alignments of the divisions. The biggest change that Amerks fans will notice is that the Syracuse Crunch moved to the East Divsion of the Eastern Conference and the Amerks have stayed in the West. If you’d like to see the current alignment click here.
Playoff / Rule Changes
The format for the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs has been approved. The playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions, with one possible exception: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the East Division, it would cross over and compete in the East Division playoffs. The 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs will again feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals. All rounds will comprise best-of-seven series.
A change has been made to the shootout procedures so that no player may shoot twice until all eligible players have gone once. Previously, only five shooters per team were selected to participate in the entire shootout.
One-minute minor penalties during overtime, instituted at the request of NHL general managers in 2008-09, have been eliminated. Penalties in overtime will be served in full.
And in case your wondering about the schedule for the 2009/2010 season, it should be out within the next week or two.