AHL League Update – Fall 2018
By Brad Chavis
Head Athletic Trainer
It has only been 4 short months since the Calder Cup made its appearance in Toronto, and already there have been many changes within the American Hockey League! The AHL now has 31 active franchises with the addition of the Colorado Eagles, the affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. Divisional alignments have also changed slightly. The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage are moving to the Central Division, while the Cleveland Monsters shift over to the Northern Division.
Changes will also include all AHL regular season and post season games utilizing the two-referee system, as well as incorporating a new rule, where the team being awarded a power play will now have the choice of which offensive-zone location the ensuing face off will take place at, as well as the privilege of placing its lineup on the ice last.
More than 6.9 million fans enjoyed games between the regular season and Calder Cup playoffs, and eight teams saw an average attendance of more the 7,600 fans per game! Cleveland set a new franchise and league record averaging 9,197 fans per game, thus ending the Hershey Bears streak of 11 consecutive seasons leading the AHL.
One of the highlights of last season was a hard-fought Calder Cup Final between the Toronto Marlies and the Texas Stars. This season ended with a Game 7 win for Toronto in front of a record breaking 8,818 fans at the Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Congratulations to the great staffs of both teams. Those amazing types of games couldn?t be possible without your hard work and dedication.
Also, for the first time in 60 years, the 2019 All-Star Game will take place in Springfield, MA, home of the American Hockey League headquarters. The game will take place on Jan 27-28th. The last AHL?s All-Star Game that was held in western Massachusetts was on Dec. 10, 1959, when the Springfield Indians defeated a team of League All-Stars 8-3, at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield.
Finally, while things have changed, many things have stayed the same. The American Hockey League continues to be the premier developer of talent for the NHL. When the 2018-2019 National Hockey League season began, there were 660 AHL graduates, as well as 23 teams being led by former AHL head coaches. The AHL is staffed with some of the best and brightest Athletic Trainers and Equipment Managers that this game has to offer. This is a hard working and loyal group of professionals that have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the game of hockey.
I look forward to seeing all of you throughout the course of the season, and I wish you all the best!