SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of games for the 2017-18 regular season, the league’s 82nd year of operation. The season, comprising 1,116 games, begins on Fri., Oct. 6 and concludes on Sun., Apr. 15.
Some highlights of the 2017-18 schedule:
• The 2017-18 regular season opens with six games on Oct. 6, including the opening of Place Bell in Laval, Que., as the Laval Rocket host the Belleville Senators in the inaugural game for both teams.
• Also on Oct. 6, the Grand Rapids Griffins celebrate their 2017 Calder Cup championship when they drop the puck at Van Andel Arena against Manitoba.
• The Chicago Wolves’ first game as the top affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights is set for Oct. 6 at Texas.
• The Binghamton Devils hit the ice for the first time on Oct. 7 when they host Bridgeport.
• Belleville plays its home opener at the newly renovated Yardmen Arena on Nov. 1 against Syracuse.
• The Hershey Bears, who are commemorating their 80th AHL season this year, host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hersheypark Stadium on Jan. 20 in the 10th outdoor game in league history.
• The Providence Bruins will play their 2,000th regular-season game on Dec. 10 vs. Utica, becoming the seventh AHL franchise ever to reach that plateau.
• The Manitoba Moose play the 1,000th regular-season game in the franchise’s AHL history on Feb. 7 at Grand Rapids; the Toronto Marlies play game number 1,000 on Mar. 20 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
• There are three days this season on which all 30 AHL teams are in action: Fri., Oct. 21; Sat., Jan. 27; and Sat., Mar. 31.
• The 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs will get underway the week of Apr. 16, featuring 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 31 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.