AHL Board of Governors Annual Meeting concludes

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2017 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded today, included presentations from National Hockey League deputy commissioner Bill Daly; from USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher; and from the Professional Hockey Players’ Association. Mr. Andrews gave his Annual Report to the Board, and additional reports were presented by the league’s Executive Committee, Marketing Committee, Team Business Services Committee, Competition Committee and Player Development Committee.

The Board has approved the following items to be implemented in 2017-18:

2017-18 Alignment

As approved by the Board in May, following is the division and conference alignment for the 2017-18 season (National Hockey League affiliates in parentheses):

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (PHI)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
Springfield Thunderbirds (FLA)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

North Division
Belleville Senators (OTT)
Binghamton Devils (NJ)
Laval Rocket (MTL)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)
Utica Comets (VAN)

Western Conference
Central Division
Chicago Wolves (VGK)
Cleveland Monsters (CBJ)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Iowa Wild (MIN)
Manitoba Moose (WPG)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

Pacific Division
Bakersfield Condors (EDM)
Ontario Reign (LA)
San Antonio Rampage (COL)
San Diego Gulls (ANA)
San Jose Barracuda (SJ)
Stockton Heat (CGY)
Texas Stars (DAL)
Tucson Roadrunners (ARI)

Playing Schedule/Standings/Playoff Format

• The 2017-18 regular season will consist of 1,116 games, played between Oct. 6 and Apr. 15. The full league schedule has been approved, and will be announced next week.

• Teams will receive two points for a win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. The top four teams in each division ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available) will qualify for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.

• The 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals. The division semifinals are best-of-five series; all subsequent rounds are best-of-seven.

• Teams will wear light jerseys at home until the Christmas break, and dark jerseys at home after the Christmas break.

Expansion for 2018-19

• The AHL Board of Governors has made a commitment to an expansion applicant, which will see the AHL expand to 31 teams for the 2018-19 season.

• This commitment assures that all 31 NHL clubs will have a full primary affiliation in the AHL for 2018-19 and beyond.

• The process of concluding related agreements is not yet complete; once those agreements are in place the NHL and AHL clubs involved will jointly announce them.

In operation since 1936, the AHL serves 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.