American Hockey League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2023–24 AHL season
American Hockey League logo
SportIce hockey
Founded1936 (IHL/C-AHL Interlocking schedules); 1938 (IHL/C-AHL formally merged)
PresidentScott Howson
No. of teams32
CountriesUnited States (26 teams)
Canada (6 teams)
HeadquartersSpringfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Most recent
champion(s)
Hershey Bears (12th title)
Most titlesHershey Bears (12)[1]
TV partner(s)Canada (English): Sportsnet/Sportsnet One
Canada (French): Réseau des sports
Europe: Premier Sports
United States (English): NHL Network
United States (Spanish): ESPN Deportes
United States (English): AHL.TV (Internet app)
Official websitetheahl.com
The alternate logo of the AHL

The American Hockey League (AHL) is a professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as the primary developmental league for the National Hockey League (NHL).[2] As of the 2023–24 AHL season, 31 of the 32 AHL teams had an official affiliation with an NHL team; immediately following season's end, the Chicago Wolves and Carolina Hurricanes finalized an affiliation agreement, resulting in all AHL teams having an NHL affiliation for the upcoming 2024–25 season. Historically, when an NHL team does not have an AHL affiliate, its players are assigned to AHL teams affiliated with other NHL franchises.

Twenty-six AHL teams are located across the United States whereas the remaining six are situated in Canada. The league offices are located in Springfield, Massachusetts, and its current president is Scott Howson.[3]

A player must be at least 18 years of age to play in the AHL or not currently be beholden to a junior ice hockey team. The league limits the number of experienced professional players in a team's lineup during any given game; only five skaters can have accumulated more than 260 games played at the professional level (goaltenders are exempt from this rule).[4]

The annual playoff champion is awarded the Calder Cup, named for Frank Calder, the first President (1917–1943) of the NHL. The defending champions following the 2022–23 season are the Hershey Bears, winning their 12th Calder Cup.

History

Predecessor leagues

The AHL traces its origins directly to two predecessor professional leagues: the Canadian-American Hockey League (the "Can-Am" League), founded in 1926, and the first International Hockey League, established in 1929. Although the Can-Am League never operated with more than six teams, the departure of the Boston Bruin Cubs after the 1935–36 season reduced it down to just four member clubs: the Springfield Indians, Philadelphia Ramblers, Providence Reds, and New Haven Eagles for the first time in its history. At the same time, the then-rival IHL lost half of its eight members after the 1935–36 season, leaving it with just four member teams: the Buffalo Bisons, Syracuse Stars, Pittsburgh Hornets, and Cleveland Falcons.

1936–1938

With both leagues down to the bare minimum number of teams to be viable, the governors of both leagues recognized the need for action to assure their member clubs' long-term survival. Their solution was to play an interlocking schedule. While the Can-Am was based in the Northeast and the IHL in the Great Lakes, their footprints were close enough for this to be a viable option. The two leagues' eight surviving clubs began joint play in November 1936 as a new two-division "circuit of mutual convenience" known as the International-American Hockey League. The four Can-Am teams became the I-AHL East Division, with the IHL quartet playing as the West Division. The IHL also contributed its former championship trophy, the F.G. "Teddy" Oke Trophy, which would go to the regular-season winners of the merged league's West Division until 1952. The Oke Trophy is now awarded to the regular-season winners of the AHL's North Division.

A little more than a month into that first season, the balance and symmetry of the new combined circuit suffered a setback when its membership unexpectedly fell to seven teams. The West's Buffalo Bisons were forced to cease operations on December 6, 1936, after playing just 11 games, because of what proved to be insurmountable financial problems and lack of access to a suitable arena; the Bisons' original arena, Peace Bridge Arena, had collapsed the previous season (a new Buffalo Bisons team would return to the league in 1940 after a new arena was constructed for them). The makeshift new I-AHL played out the rest of its first season (as well as all of the next) with just seven teams.

At the end of the 1936–37 season, a modified three-round playoff format was devised and a new championship trophy, the Calder Cup, was established. The Syracuse Stars defeated the Philadelphia Ramblers in the final, three-games-to-one, to win the first-ever Calder Cup championship. The Calder Cup continues on today as the AHL's playoff championship trophy.

Formal consolidation of the I-AHL

A June 29, 1938 Associated Press article in The Philadelphia Record announcing the formation of the Hershey Bears in Hershey, Pennsylvania

After two seasons of interlocking play, the governors of the two leagues' seven active teams met in New York City on June 28, 1938, and agreed that it was time to formally consolidate. Maurice Podoloff of New Haven, the former head of the Can-Am League, was elected the I-AHL's first president. The former IHL president, John D. Chick of Windsor, Ontario, became vice-president in charge of officials.

The new I-AHL also added an eighth franchise at the 1938 meeting to fill the void in its membership left by the loss of Buffalo two years earlier with the admission of the then two-time defending Eastern Amateur Hockey League (EAHL) champion Hershey Bears.[5] The Bears remain the only one of these eight original I-AHL/AHL franchises to have been represented in the league without interruption since the 1938–39 season. The newly merged circuit also increased its regular-season schedule for each team by six games from 48 to 54.

Contraction, resurrection, and expansion

American Hockey League's 50th anniversary logo

After the 1939–40 season the I-AHL renamed itself the American Hockey League. It generally enjoyed both consistent success on the ice and relative financial stability over its first three decades of operation. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, the cost of doing business in professional ice hockey began to rise sharply with NHL expansion and relocation (the NHL placed teams in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, forcing two long-time AHL clubs, the Pittsburgh Hornets and Buffalo Bisons, to fold) and especially the 1972 formation of the World Hockey Association (WHA), which forced the relocation and subsequent folding of the Cleveland Barons, Baltimore Clippers, and Quebec Aces. The number of major-league teams competing for players rose from six to thirty in just seven years. Player salaries at all levels shot up dramatically with the increased demand and competition for their services.

This did not seem to affect the AHL at first, as it expanded to 12 teams by 1970. However, to help compensate for the rise in player salaries, many NHL clubs cut back on the number of players they kept under contract for development, and players under AHL contracts could now also demand much higher paychecks to remain with their clubs. As a result, half of the AHL's teams folded from 1974 to 1977. The league bottomed out in the summer of 1977, with news that the Rhode Island (formerly Providence) Reds – the last remaining uninterrupted franchise from the 1936–37 season, and the oldest continuously operating minor league franchise in North America – had decided to cease operations after 51 years in Rhode Island.

The AHL appeared in serious danger of folding altogether if this downward trend was not reversed. However, two events in the fall of 1977 helped reverse the trend. The first of these was the decision of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers to return to the league as a team owner, and the second was the unexpected collapse of the North American Hockey League just weeks before the start of the 1977–78 season.

The Flyers' new AHL franchise became the immediately successful Maine Mariners, which brought the new AHL city of Portland, Maine both the regular-season and Calder Cup playoff titles in each of that club's first two seasons of operation. The folding of the NAHL, meanwhile, suddenly left two of its stronger teams, the Philadelphia Firebirds and Binghamton, New York-based Broome Dusters, without a league to play in. The owners of the Dusters solved their problem by buying the Reds franchise and moving it to Binghamton as the Binghamton Dusters, while the Firebirds crossed over to the AHL from the NAHL. The Dusters and Firebirds, together with the Hampton Gulls (who had joined the league from the Southern Hockey League), boosted the AHL to nine member clubs as the 1977–78 season opened. Hampton folded on February 10, 1978, but was replaced the next year by the New Brunswick Hawks. With franchise stability improving after the demise of the WHA in 1979, the league continued to grow steadily over the years, reaching 20 clubs by the 2000–01 season.

Absorption of the IHL

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Locations of teams in the AHL as of the 2023–24 season. Dot colors correspond to the divisional alignment.

In 2001–02, the AHL's membership jumped dramatically to 27 teams, mostly by the absorption of six teams—Milwaukee, Chicago, Houston, Utah, Manitoba, and Grand Rapids—from the International Hockey League. The IHL had established itself as the second top-level minor league circuit in North America, but folded in 2001 due to financial problems. One oddity caused by the AHL's 2001 expansion was that the league had two teams with the same nickname: the Milwaukee Admirals and the Norfolk Admirals. The latter team transferred to the league from the mid-level ECHL in 2000. This situation lasted until the end of the 2014–15 season when the Norfolk team moved to San Diego and was replaced by another ECHL team with the same name.

The Utah Grizzlies suspended operations after the 2004–05 season (the franchise was sold in 2006 and returned to the ice in Cleveland in 2007 as the Lake Erie Monsters, now known as the Cleveland Monsters). The Chicago Wolves (2002, 2008, 2022), Houston Aeros (2003), Milwaukee Admirals (2004), and Grand Rapids Griffins (2013, 2017) have all won Calder Cup titles since joining the AHL from the IHL. Chicago and Milwaukee have also made multiple trips to the Calder Cup Finals, and Houston made their second Finals appearance in 2011.

The Manitoba Moose moved to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011 and were renamed the St. John's IceCaps after the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg as the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets. In 2013, Houston moved to Des Moines, Iowa to become the Iowa Wild. This left Chicago, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee as the only ex-IHL teams still in their original cities until the 2015 relocations when the IceCaps moved back to Winnipeg as the Manitoba Moose.

Relocations and western shift

Team locations and divisional alignment in the 2014–15 season prior to the franchise relocations
Team locations and divisions after the 2015–16 relocation and realignment

Beginning with the 2015–16 season, twelve franchises have since relocated due to NHL parent clubs' influence on their development teams and players. Of the twelve relocated franchises, nine were relocated because they were directly owned by NHL teams and the NHL parent club wished to make call-ups from the AHL more practical by having closer affiliates.

In January 2015, the AHL announced the relocation of five existing AHL franchises—Adirondack, Manchester, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, and Worcester—to California as the basis for a new "Pacific Division" becoming Stockton, Ontario, San Diego, Bakersfield, and San Jose respectively.[6] The relocated teams were all affiliated and owned or purchased by teams in the NHL's Pacific Division. The franchise movements continued with two more relocations involving Canadian teams[7] with the St. John's IceCaps going back to Winnipeg as the Manitoba Moose and the Hamilton Bulldogs becoming another iteration of the IceCaps to fulfill the arena contract in St. John's.

In the following seasons, more NHL organizations influenced league membership. In 2016, the Springfield Falcons franchise was purchased by the Arizona Coyotes and relocated to become the Tucson Roadrunners and join the one-year-old Pacific Division. The Falcons were subsequently replaced by the Springfield Thunderbirds, the relocated Portland Pirates franchise under a new ownership group. The Montreal Canadiens-owned IceCaps relocated to the Montreal suburb of Laval, Quebec, and became the Laval Rocket in 2017.[8] The Binghamton Senators were also purchased by the Ottawa Senators and were relocated to Belleville, Ontario, to become the Belleville Senators[9] while the New Jersey Devils' owned Albany Devils were relocated to become the Binghamton Devils.[10]

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms host the Hartford Wolf Pack at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, December 2019

For the 2018–19 season, a 31st team joined the league with the Colorado Eagles as the NHL's Colorado Avalanche affiliate.[11] With the NHL planning to expand to 32 teams in 2021 with the Seattle Kraken, the Seattle ownership group was approved for a 2021 AHL expansion team, later announced to be the Coachella Valley Firebirds based in Palm Springs, California, following the construction of a new arena.[12][13] The original plans for the new arena was eventually cancelled and the team postponed their launch by a year while new arena plans were developed.[14]

In February 2020, the San Antonio Rampage franchise was bought and relocated by the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights for the 2020–21 season[15] as the Henderson Silver Knights and was moved to the Pacific Division. For the 2021–22 season, the Vancouver Canucks relocated their franchise from Utica to Abbotsford while the Utica Comets agreed to relocate and operate the franchise that was operating as the Binghamton Devils.[16] On May 23, 2022, it was announced that the Stockton Heat would be relocating to Calgary, Alberta, starting the 2022–23 season.[17]

For the 2023–24 season, the Chicago Wolves are the league's only unaffiliated team, making them the first team to operate without an NHL partner the inaugural 1994–95 season of the Worcester IceCats, which had not been able to hold on to the affiliation held by its Springfield Indians predecessor.[18] Consequently, the Carolina Hurricanes became the only NHL team currently without an AHL affiliate.[19] However, the Hurricanes loaned some players to the Wolves, such as Vasili Ponomaryov and Antti Raanta.

Teams

AHL 2023–24.
Teams in the AHL as of the 2023–24 season. Dot colors correspond to the divisional alignment.
  • Atlantic Division
  • North Division
  • Central Division
  • Pacific Division

List of teams

Overview of American Hockey League teams
Conference Division Team Name City Arena Founded Joined Current city since Head coach NHL affiliate
Eastern Atlantic Bridgeport Islanders Bridgeport, Connecticut Total Mortgage Arena 2001 Rick Kowalsky New York Islanders
Charlotte Checkers Charlotte, North Carolina Bojangles Coliseum 1990[c 1] 2010 Geordie Kinnear Florida Panthers
Hartford Wolf Pack Hartford, Connecticut XL Center 1926[c 1] 1936 1997 Steve Smith New York Rangers
Hershey Bears Hershey, Pennsylvania Giant Center 1938 Todd Nelson Washington Capitals
Lehigh Valley Phantoms Allentown, Pennsylvania PPL Center 1996[c 1] 2014 Ian Laperrière Philadelphia Flyers
Providence Bruins Providence, Rhode Island Amica Mutual Pavilion 1987[c 1] 1992 Ryan Mougenel Boston Bruins
Springfield Thunderbirds Springfield, Massachusetts MassMutual Center 1975[c 1] 1981 2016 Daniel Tkaczuk St. Louis Blues
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza 1981[c 1] 1999 J. D. Forrest Pittsburgh Penguins
North Belleville Senators Belleville, Ontario CAA Arena 1972[c 1] 2017 David Bell Ottawa Senators
Cleveland Monsters Cleveland, Ohio Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 1994[c 1] 2001 2007 Trent Vogelhuber Columbus Blue Jackets
Laval Rocket Laval, Quebec Place Bell 1969[c 1] 2017 Jean-François Houle Montreal Canadiens
Rochester Americans Rochester, New York Blue Cross Arena 1956 Seth Appert Buffalo Sabres
Syracuse Crunch Syracuse, New York Upstate Medical University Arena 1992[c 1] 1994 Joel Bouchard Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Marlies Toronto, Ontario Coca-Cola Coliseum 1978[c 1] 2005 John Gruden Toronto Maple Leafs
Utica Comets Utica, New York Adirondack Bank Center 1998[c 1] 2013 Kevin Dineen New Jersey Devils
Western Central Chicago Wolves Rosemont, Illinois Allstate Arena 1994 2001 Bob Nardella Carolina Hurricanes[a]
Grand Rapids Griffins Grand Rapids, Michigan Van Andel Arena 1996 2001 Dan Watson Detroit Red Wings
Iowa Wild Des Moines, Iowa Wells Fargo Arena 1994[c 1] 2001 2013 Brett McLean Minnesota Wild
Manitoba Moose Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada Life Centre 1994[c 1] 2001 Mark Morrison Winnipeg Jets
Milwaukee Admirals Milwaukee, Wisconsin UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena 1970 2001 Karl Taylor Nashville Predators
Rockford IceHogs Rockford, Illinois BMO Center 1995[c 1] 2007 Anders Sorensen Chicago Blackhawks
Texas Stars Cedar Park, Texas H-E-B Center at Cedar Park 1999[c 1] 2009 Neil Graham Dallas Stars
Pacific Abbotsford Canucks Abbotsford, British Columbia Abbotsford Centre 1932[c 1] 1936 2021 Jeremy Colliton Vancouver Canucks
Bakersfield Condors Bakersfield, California Mechanics Bank Arena 1984[c 1] 2015 Colin Chaulk Edmonton Oilers
Calgary Wranglers Calgary, Alberta Scotiabank Saddledome 1977[c 1] 2022 Trent Cull Calgary Flames
Coachella Valley Firebirds Thousand Palms, California Acrisure Arena 2022 Dan Bylsma Seattle Kraken
Colorado Eagles Loveland, Colorado Blue Arena 2018 Aaron Schneekloth Colorado Avalanche
Henderson Silver Knights Henderson, Nevada Dollar Loan Center 1971[c 1] 2020 Ryan Craig Vegas Golden Knights
Ontario Reign Ontario, California Toyota Arena 2001[c 1] 2015 Marco Sturm Los Angeles Kings
San Diego Gulls San Diego, California Pechanga Arena 2000[c 1] 2015 Matt McIlvane Anaheim Ducks
San Jose Barracuda San Jose, California Tech CU Arena 1996[c 1] 2015 John McCarthy San Jose Sharks
Tucson Roadrunners Tucson, Arizona Tucson Convention Center 1994[c 1] 2016 Steve Potvin Arizona Coyotes

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Franchise has moved in the past; see AHL membership timeline below or the team's main article for further information.

Timeline

Current member Former member Opted out of season due to COVID-19 pandemic

Coachella Valley FirebirdsColorado EaglesCleveland MonstersUtah Grizzlies (1995–2005)Manitoba MooseSt. John's IceCapsManitoba MooseMilwaukee AdmiralsOntario ReignManchester Monarchs (AHL)Iowa WildHouston Aeros (1994–2013)Grand Rapids GriffinsChicago WolvesBridgeport IslandersSan Diego GullsNorfolk Admirals (AHL)Texas StarsIowa StarsLouisville PanthersUtica CometsBinghamton DevilsAlbany DevilsLowell DevilsSan Jose BarracudaWorcester SharksCleveland Barons (2001–06)Kentucky ThoroughbladesLehigh Valley PhantomsAdirondack PhantomsPhiladelphia PhantomsBeast of New HavenCarolina MonarchsRockford IceHogsCincinnati Mighty DucksBaltimore BanditsTucson RoadrunnersSpringfield FalconsSyracuse CrunchHamilton CanucksCharlotte CheckersAlbany River RatsCapital District IslandersProvidence BruinsMaine Mariners (AHL)Bakersfield CondorsOklahoma City BaronsEdmonton Road RunnersToronto RoadrunnersHamilton Bulldogs (AHL)Cape Breton OilersNova Scotia OilersMoncton Golden FlamesSherbrooke JetsWilkes-Barre/Scranton PenguinsCornwall AcesHalifax CitadelsFredericton ExpressSpringfield ThunderbirdsPortland PiratesBaltimore SkipjacksErie BladesToronto MarliesSt. John's Maple LeafsNewmarket SaintsSt. Catharines SaintsNew Brunswick HawksSyracuse FirebirdsPhiladelphia Firebirds (ice hockey)Calgary WranglersStockton HeatAdirondack FlamesAbbotsford HeatQuad City FlamesOmaha Ak-Sar-Ben KnightsSaint John FlamesUtica DevilsMaine Mariners (AHL)Hampton GullsBelleville SenatorsBinghamton SenatorsPrince Edward Island SenatorsNew Haven NighthawksHenderson Silver KnightsSan Antonio RampageAdirondack Red WingsVirginia WingsCincinnati SwordsMoncton HawksBoston Braves (AHL)Laval RocketSt. John's IceCapsHamilton Bulldogs (AHL)Quebec CitadellesFredericton CanadiensSherbrooke CanadiensNova Scotia VoyageursMontreal VoyageursBaltimore ClippersRichmond RobinsQuebec AcesRochester AmericansPhiladelphia RocketsSt. Louis FlyersCincinnati MohawksWashington Lions (AHL)Indianapolis CapitalsHershey BearsBuffalo Bisons (AHL)Syracuse Stars (ice hockey)Abbotsford CanucksUtica CometsPeoria Rivermen (AHL)Worcester IceCatsSpringfield IndiansSyracuse WarriorsSpringfield IndiansHartford Wolf PackBinghamton RangersProvidence RedsPittsburgh HornetsPhiladelphia RamblersNew Haven EaglesSyracuse EaglesJacksonville BaronsCleveland Barons (1937-73)Buffalo Bisons (IHL)

All-time team list

Bold teams means they are still active

Presidents

Presidents of the American Hockey League
Name Tenure
Maurice Podoloff 1936–1952
Emory D. Jones 1952–1953
John B. Sollenberger 1953–1954
John D. Chick 1954–1957
Richard F. Canning 1957–1961
James G. Balmer 1961–1964
John T. Riley 1964–1966
Jack A. Butterfield 1966–1994
David A. Andrews 1994–2020
D. Scott Howson 2020–present

All-Star Game

Cheerleader cheering at the All-Star Game, 2018

The American Hockey League first held an All-Star Game in the 1941–42 season as a fundraiser for American Red Cross and Canadian Red Cross efforts during World War II. Players from the Eastern Division faced off against players from the Western Division at Cleveland Arena.[22]

The event was not played again until the 1954–55 season, and was then held annually until the 1959–60 season. These six annual games pitted a team of all-stars against the defending Calder Cup champions (with the exception of the 1959-60 event, which featured the Springfield Indians).

The modern AHL All-Star Game was reinstituted for the 1994–95 season and a skills competition was introduced in 1995-96, with the two-day event being dubbed the AHL All-Star Classic. The 1995 and 1996 games featured players from teams based in Canada taking on players from teams based in the United States. Beginning in 1997, Canadian-born players faced players born outside Canada (known as the “World” team in 1997 and “PlanetUSA” from 1998 to 2010).

The format was revamped again in 2011 to pit the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference. In 2014, a team of AHL all-stars hosted the Swedish Hockey League club Färjestad BK.

Since 2016, the all-star game has been replaced by the AHL All-Star Challenge,[23] a three-on-three round-robin tournament among teams from the league’s four divisions; the top two teams advance to the final game, with the winner declared the challenge champions.

The AHL All-Star Classic was postponed in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Laval Rocket, who had been selected to host, ultimately hosted the event in 2023.

Overview of American Hockey League All-Star Games
Date Arena City Winner Score Runner-up
February 3, 1942 Cleveland Arena Cleveland, Ohio East All-Stars 5–4 West All-Stars
October 27, 1954 Hershey Sports Arena Hershey, Pennsylvania AHL All-Stars 7–3 Cleveland Barons
January 10, 1956 Duquesne Gardens Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania AHL All-Stars 4–4 Pittsburgh Hornets
October 23, 1956 Rhode Island Auditorium Providence, Rhode Island Providence Reds 4–0 AHL All-Stars
October 6, 1957 Rochester Community War Memorial Rochester, New York AHL All-Stars 5–2 Cleveland Barons
January 15, 1959 Hershey Sports Arena Hershey, Pennsylvania Hershey Bears 5–2 AHL All-Stars
December 10, 1959 Eastern States Coliseum West Springfield, Massachusetts Springfield Indians 8–3 AHL All-Stars
January 17, 1995 Providence Civic Center Providence, Rhode Island Canada 6–4 USA
January 16, 1996 Hersheypark Arena Hershey, Pennsylvania USA 6–5 Canada
January 16, 1997 Harbour Station Saint John, New Brunswick World 3–2 (SO) Canada
February 11, 1998 Onondaga County War Memorial Arena Syracuse, New York Canada 11–10 PlanetUSA
January 25, 1999 First Union Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PlanetUSA 5–4 (SO) Canada
January 17, 2000 Blue Cross Arena Rochester, New York Canada 8–3 PlanetUSA
January 15, 2001 First Union Arena at Casey Plaza Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Canada 11–10 PlanetUSA
February 14, 2002 Mile One Stadium St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada 13–11 PlanetUSA
February 3, 2003 Cumberland County Civic Center Portland, Maine Canada 10–7 PlanetUSA
February 9, 2004 Van Andel Arena Grand Rapids, Michigan Canada 9–5 PlanetUSA
February 14, 2005 Verizon Wireless Arena Manchester, New Hampshire PlanetUSA 5–4 Canada
February 1, 2006 MTS Centre Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada 9–4 PlanetUSA
January 29, 2007 Ricoh Coliseum Toronto, Ontario PlanetUSA 7–6 Canada
January 28, 2008 Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Binghamton, New York Canada 9–8 (SO) PlanetUSA
January 26, 2009 DCU Center Worcester, Massachusetts PlanetUSA 14–11 Canada
January 19, 2010 Cumberland County Civic Center Portland, Maine Canada 10–9 (SO) PlanetUSA
January 31, 2011 Giant Center Hershey, Pennsylvania East All-Stars 11–8 West All-Stars
January 30, 2012 Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City, New Jersey West All-Stars 8–7 (SO) East All-Stars
January 28, 2013 Dunkin' Donuts Center Providence, Rhode Island West All-Stars 7–6 East All-Stars
February 12, 2014 Mile One Centre St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador AHL All-Stars 7–2 Färjestad BK
January 26, 2015 Utica Memorial Auditorium Utica, New York West All-Stars 14–12 East All-Stars
February 1, 2016 Oncenter War Memorial Arena Syracuse, New York Round robin results:
Pacific 0–1 North
Central 2–1 Atlantic (SO)
Central 4–2 North
Pacific 1–2 Atlantic
Central 4–6 Pacific
Atlantic 4–1 North
Central Division 4–0 Atlantic Division
January 30, 2017 PPL Center Allentown, Pennsylvania Round robin results:
Central 1–2 Atlantic
Pacific 3–6 North
Central 2–1 North (SO)
Pacific 1–6 Atlantic
Pacific 3–5 Central
North 0–2 Atlantic
Central Division 1–0 (SO) Atlantic Division
January 29, 2018[24] Utica Memorial Auditorium Utica, New York Round robin results:
Pacific 5–3 North
Central 2–5 Atlantic
Central 2–4 North
Pacific 4–3 Atlantic
Central 3–4 Pacific
Atlantic 3–4 North
North Division 1–0 Pacific Division
January 28, 2019 MassMutual Center Springfield, Massachusetts Round robin results:
Central 1–3 Atlantic
Pacific 4–2 North
Central 2–4 North
Pacific 2–5 Atlantic
Central 5–3 Pacific
North 4–1 Atlantic
North Division 1–0 (SO) Atlantic Division
January 27, 2020[25] Toyota Arena Ontario, California Round robin results:
North 5–6 Pacific (SO)
Atlantic 1–3 Central
North 5–6 Central
Atlantic 3–2 Pacific
Atlantic 5–2 North
Central 4–5 Pacific (SO)
Atlantic Division 3–1 Central Division
February 6, 2023 Place Bell Laval, Quebec Round robin results:
North 2–2 Pacific (SO)
Atlantic 4–3 Central (SO)
North 2–2 Central (SO)
Atlantic 2–6 Pacific
Atlantic 3–2 North (SO)
Central 2–5 Pacific[26]
Pacific Division 1–0 Atlantic Division
February 5, 2024 Tech CU Arena San Jose, California Round robin results:
North 1–1 Pacific (SO)
Central 4–1 Atlantic
North 3–2 Central (SO)
Atlantic 2–2 Pacific (SO)
Atlantic 6–1 North
Pacific 4–3 Central (SO)[27]
Pacific Division 3–2 Atlantic Division

Outdoor games

Main article: AHL Outdoor Classic

An AHL record crowd of 45,653 watched the Adirondack Phantoms defeat the Hershey Bears, 4–3 in overtime at the 2012 AHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia

Since the 2009–10 season, at least one team in the AHL has hosted an outdoor ice hockey game each year. The Syracuse Crunch was the first organization to put on an outdoor game in the AHL on February 20, 2010, building a rink at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York, and packing a record 21,508 fans in for the Mirabito Outdoor Classic against the Binghamton Senators. The contest, which was also televised to an international audience on NHL Network, was won by the Crunch, 2–1.

The Connecticut Whale hosted the Whale Bowl, the AHL's second outdoor game held on February 19, 2011 as part of a 10-day Whalers Hockey Fest at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Attendance for Connecticut's game against the Providence Bruins was announced at 21,673, the largest in AHL history to that point. Providence won, 5–4, in a shootout.

On January 6, 2012, the largest crowd in AHL history saw the Adirondack Phantoms defeat the Hershey Bears, 4–3, in overtime before 45,653 fans at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, as the final event of the week-long activities associated with the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, which also included a game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers on Jan 2 and an alumni game between retired players (including eight honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame) of those two clubs on December 31, 2011. The contest was the third outdoor game in AHL history and it more than doubled the league's previous single-game attendance mark.

On January 21, 2012, the Steeltown Showdown between Ontario rivals, the Toronto Marlies and Hamilton Bulldogs, was held at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario, with the Marlies winning 7–2 in front of 20,565 fans, the largest crowd ever for an AHL game in Canada. The AHL game was preceded the previous night by a game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens alumni.

Two outdoor games were announced for the 2012–13 AHL season, but a meeting between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies at Comerica Park in Detroit as part of the festivities surrounding the NHL Winter Classic was not held because of the cancellation of the NHL Winter Classic. On January 20, 2013, the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins met outdoors at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania with the Penguins earning a 2–1 overtime victory in front of 17,311 fans.

The Rochester Americans hosted an outdoor game in 2013–14, the Frozen Frontier, which was held at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York, on December 13, 2013. The Americans took a 5–4 decision in a shootout against the Lake Erie Monsters before a standing-room crowd of 11,015 fans. A year after their originally scheduled date, the Griffins and Marlies played at Comerica Park on December 30, 2013, and Toronto prevailed in a shootout, 4–3, becoming the first AHL team ever with two outdoor wins. Attendance in Detroit was 20,337.

As part of the recent addition of the Pacific Division, the AHL played its first outdoor hockey game in California during the 2015–16 season, called the Golden State Hockey Rush. On December 18, 2015, the Stockton Heat defeated the Bakersfield Condors, 3-2, at Raley Field in West Sacramento, California.[28]

For the second consecutive season, the AHL played an outdoor game in California as the Bakersfield Condors hosted the Condorstown Outdoor Classic against the Ontario Reign on January 7, 2017, at Bakersfield College's Memorial Stadium.[29] Despite sometimes heavy rain during the first period, the game went on as scheduled and the Condors defeated the Reign 3–2 in overtime.

Hersheypark Stadium hosted its second outdoor game in 2018. Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium became the first National Football League venue to host an AHL outdoor game in 2023, and Truist Field in Charlotte hosted the Queen City Outdoor Classic in 2024.

International Games

Teams from the AHL have competed against non-North American teams, in both international tournaments and one-off matchups.

The first recorded games between an AHL team and international competition took place in 1969, when the Montreal Voyageurs hosted the Canadian National Team in Winnipeg.

Several club teams from the Soviet Union toured the United States and Canada during the 1970s and 1980s and played exhibitions against AHL clubs, including the Soviet Wings (1974–75), HC Spartak Moscow (1976, 1986), Moscow Khimik (1976), HC Dynamo Moscow (1977–78), Traktor Chelyabinsk (1978-79) and Sokil Kyiv (1989).

Prior to the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, the Adirondack Red Wings hosted exhibition games against the national teams from the United States, West Germany, Sweden and Finland. Team USA also played exhibitions against AHL teams leading up to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

The Rochester Americans participated in the 1996 and 2013 editions of the Spengler Cup, held in Davos, Switzerland. The Spengler Cup is an annual invitational tournament featuring teams from leagues around Europe and the world. The participation of the AHL in future Spengler Cups has been discussed by both the tournament organizers and league leadership.[30]

In 2014, Swedish club Färjestad BK met the Toronto Marlies as part of a visit to Canada that included its participation in the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic.[31]

In February 2018, the Ontario Reign hosted and defeated the DEL’s Eisbären Berlin, 6-3, in a friendly matchup organized by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owner of both teams.[32]

AHL Hall of Fame

Main article: AHL Hall of Fame

The formation of an American Hockey League Hall of Fame was announced by the league on December 15, 2005, created to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions specifically in the AHL.[33]

Trophies and awards

The following is a list of awards of the American Hockey League. The season the award was first handed out is listed in parentheses.

Individual awards

Team awards

Trophy predates American Hockey League, established 1926–27 in the Canadian Professional Hockey League.

Other awards

Sources:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Chicago Wolves spent the 2023–24 season without an NHL affiliation – the first AHL team to do so since the inaugural 1994–95 season of the Worcester IceCats,[18] which had not been able to hold on to the affiliation held by its Springfield Indians predecessor.[20] In May 2024, the Wolves renewed their previous affiliation with the Carolina Hurricanes.[21]

References

  1. ^ "Calder Cup Record Book" Archived January 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, theahl.com
  2. ^ Scott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. p. xvii. ISBN 1-894974-21-2.
  3. ^ "Howson elected AHL President and CEO". theahl.com. February 14, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  4. ^ "FAQ". Theahl.com. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Hershey In Hockey League: Admitted to Circuit as American-International Loops Unite" The Philadelphia Record, June 29, 1938
  6. ^ "AHL approves formation of Pacific Division". AHL. January 29, 2015. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  7. ^ "AHL announces franchise transactions". AHL. March 12, 2015. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Montreal Canadiens' farm team relocating to St. John's next season". The Compass. March 12, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "Sens Owner Purchases AHL Team Partners W/ Belleville". Ottawa Senators. September 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "New Jersey Devils to Relocate AHL Affiliate to Binghamton N.Y. for 2017-18 Season". Binghamtonsenators.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "AHL awards expansion membership to Colorado Eagles". AHL. October 10, 2017.
  12. ^ "NHL Seattle chooses Palm Springs as site for new AHL farm team". The Seattle Times. June 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "AHL expanding to Palm Springs in 2021-22". American Hockey League. September 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "Seattle Kraken delays AHL franchise by 1 year". ESPN. September 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "San Antonio Rampage Sold and Will Relocate After 2019-2020 Season". San Antonio Current. February 6, 2020.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Board of Governors Approves Franchise Relocations". AHL. May 6, 2021.
  17. ^ "American Hockey League approves Stockton Heat move to Calgary". Calgary. May 23, 2022. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  18. ^ a b "Blues announce affiliation with Worcester". United Press International. May 23, 1995. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  19. ^ "What Lack of AHL Affiliate Means for Carolina Hurricanes". The Hockey News. May 23, 2022. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  20. ^ Powers, Scott (April 5, 2023). "Chicago Wolves to shed Hurricanes affiliation, become first independent AHL team since 1994-95". The Athletic. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  21. ^ "Together Again: Wolves and Canes Forge New Partnership" (Press release). Chicago Wolves. May 2, 2024. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  22. ^ "Patriotic duty: The 1942 AHL All-Star Game". AHL. February 3, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  23. ^ "AHL All-Star Challenge format announced". AHL. November 19, 2015.
  24. ^ "North rallies for thrilling All-Star Challenge title". theahl.com. AHL. January 29, 2018.
  25. ^ "Atlantic Division Prevails in 2020 AHL All-Star Challenge". OurSports Central. January 28, 2020.
  26. ^ "Pacific Division wins thrilling All-Star Challenge". American Hockey League. February 18, 2023.
  27. ^ "Canucks' Bains leads Pacific to All-Star Challenge win". The AHL. February 6, 2024.
  28. ^ "Grant, Kylington and Shore Lead Heat to 3-2 Win at Raley Field". Stockton Heat. December 19, 2015. Archived from the original on October 8, 2021. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  29. ^ "Condors bringing outdoor hockey to Memorial Stadium". Bakersfield.com. August 23, 2016.
  30. ^ "Williams: Developing a European audience – the AHL has eyes on Spengler Cup - EP Rinkside". EP Rinkside. Retrieved September 1, 2023.
  31. ^ "Marlies to host Farjestad BK in exhibition". TheAHL.com. November 19, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  32. ^ "Ontario Reign ignite in third to defeat Eisbären Berlin". Press Enterprise. February 14, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
  33. ^ "AHL Hall of Fame announces Class of '15". Theahl.com. Retrieved January 30, 2017.