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NHL Network announces 20-game AHL schedule

nhlnetwork_200.jpgNHL Network today announced it has reached a one-year extension for broadcast rights to games of the American Hockey League (AHL), the NHL’s top development league. The broadcast package provides NHL Network in both Canada and the U.S. with 20 "Game of the Week" match-ups, airing Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET throughout the regular season of the AHL, which has affiliations with 30 NHL teams.

Coverage begins with Rochester @ Syracuse on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET (see complete broadcast schedule below). The 20-game package marks the most AHL games ever televised on NHL Network, which aired 12 AHL match-ups last season. NHL Network has televised AHL games in Canada since the 2004-05 season.

After launching in the U.S. earlier this year, NHL Network is now accessible to 80 million U.S. homes.

Highlights of NHL Network’s AHL broadcast schedule include four games featuring the Portland Pirates, top affiliate of the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. Twenty-four members of last year’s Ducks team were graduates of the AHL, including RW Corey Perry, C Ryan Getzlaf and G Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The broadcast schedule also features a meeting between the two most storied franchises in the AHL on Feb. 21, when the Hershey Bears (top affiliate of the Washington Capitals) take on the Rochester Americans (top affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers).

NHL Network’s 2007-08 AHL broadcast schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 15 – Rochester @ Syracuse at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Nov. 22 – Toronto @ Lake Erie at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Nov. 29 – Lake Erie @ Rochester at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Dec. 6 – Worcester @ Portland at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Dec. 13 – Toronto @ Rochester at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Dec. 20 – Springfield @ Portland at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan. 10 – Lake Erie @ Rockford at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan. 17 – Philadelphia @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan. 31 – Lowell @ Portland at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 7 – San Antonio @ Lake Erie at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 14 – Hershey @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 21 – Hershey @ Rochester at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 28 – Albany @ Rochester at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Mar. 6 – Philadelphia @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Mar. 13 – Grand Rapids @ Lake Erie at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Mar. 20 – Rochester @ Syracuse at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Mar. 27 – Manchester @ Portland at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Apr. 3 – Manitoba @ Rochester at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Apr. 10 – Philadelphia @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Apr. 17 – Hamilton @ Lake Erie at 7 p.m. ET

Founded in 1936 and now in its 72nd season of operation, the American Hockey League (theahl.com) serves as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of today’s NHL players are AHL graduates, and the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

As the definitive hockey destination, NHL Network offers viewers a 24-hour all-access pass to complete hockey coverage both on and off the ice, including live NHL games featuring stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. The network’s daily signature show – NHL On The Fly – offers fans exclusive live look-ins to each NHL game, including goals, shootouts, extended highlights, stellar saves, features, interviews, pre- and post-game reports, team press conferences, expert analysis from a variety of hockey insiders and former players, plus special event coverage from the NHL All-Star Game, NHL Stanley Cup Final and NHL Entry Draft. Additional NHL Network programming includes international and amateur hockey, player profiles, interview shows and youth-oriented programs. NHL Network is available in Canada and the United States by contacting digital cable or satellite providers.