SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of regular-season games for the 2016-17 season, the league’s 81st year of operation. The season, comprising 1,116 games, begins on Fri., Oct. 14 and concludes on Sat., Apr. 15.
Teams will play 76 games each (38 at home, 38 on the road) with the exception of Pacific Division members Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton and Tucson; those six teams will play 68 games each (34 home, 34 road).
Some highlights of the 2016-17 schedule:
• The 2016-17 regular season opens with eight games on Oct. 14, including the debut of the Tucson Roadrunners as they open their inaugural season in San Diego. The top affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes, the Roadrunners begin their home schedule on Oct. 28 when Stockton visits the Tucson Convention Center Arena.
• The newly renamed Cleveland Monsters celebrate their 2016 Calder Cup championship on Oct. 14 when they drop the puck at Quicken Loans Arena against Rockford.
• Also on Oct. 14, the Hershey Bears begin their 79th AHL season with a visit to the Rochester Americans – who are kicking off their 61st season – in a meeting between the AHL’s two longest-standing franchises. It will be the 451st regular-season matchup between the clubs all-time.
• The Springfield Thunderbirds hit the ice for the first time on Oct. 15 at Lehigh Valley. The team’s home debut at the MassMutual Center is set for Oct. 22 vs. St. John’s.
• The Milwaukee Admirals play their first game in their new home, the historic UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, on Oct. 29 against Iowa.
• The 2017 Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic will take place Sun., Jan. 29 and Mon., Jan. 30, at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
• There are nine days this season on which all 30 AHL teams are in action: Sat., Nov. 12; Sat., Nov. 26; Sat., Dec. 3; Sat., Jan. 7; Fri., Jan. 13; Sat., Jan. 28; Fri., Mar. 17; Sat., Mar. 18; and Fri., Apr. 14.
The 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions as ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available).
The American Hockey League was officially born in 1936 when the Canadian-American Hockey League and the International Hockey League merged to form the International-American Hockey League (the “International” would be dropped from the league’s name in 1940). The AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams; more than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2015-16, over 7.1 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America, the highest total attendance in league history.
The entire 2016-17 AHL regular season schedule is available for viewing at theahl.com.