SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors approved several measures at its Semi-Annual Meeting, held today in downtown Springfield.
• The format for the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs has been approved and will not change from last season, featuring a divisional playoff format leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals. All rounds will comprise best-of-seven series.
The Calder Cup Playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions, with two possible exceptions: if the fifth-place team in the East Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the Atlantic Division, it would cross over and compete in the Atlantic Division playoffs. Similarly, if the fifth-place team in the West Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the North Division, it would cross over and compete in the North Division playoffs.
• The AHL Board of Governors approved an amendment to the tiebreaking procedures for AHL standings. In case of a tie in points in the standings, the first tiebreaker shall be the team having won the greater number of games excluding games won in the shootout.
• Modifications were made to the AHL Rule Book to reflect changes made by the National Hockey League earlier this offseason. Most notable is the adoption of Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head, which provides for a major penalty and game misconduct for a “lateral or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact.” The entire 2010-11 AHL Rule Book is available for viewing and download at theahl.com.
In operation since 1936 and celebrating its 75th anniversary this season, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the ninth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2009-10. The 2010-11 regular season is set to begin on Oct. 8.