SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of regular-season games for the 2006-07 season, the league’s 71st year of operation. The season, comprising 1,080 games, begins on Wed., Oct. 4 and concludes on Sun., Apr. 15. Each of the league’s 27 clubs will play 80 games, 40 at home and 40 on the road.
With a divisional format again in place for the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs, two-thirds of this year’s schedule (720 of 1,080) will feature games between division rivals.
For the seventh year in a row, the AHL’s regular season opens with a game at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play host to the Manitoba Moose on Oct. 4 at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The AHL returns to Worcester, Mass., in 2006-07, as the Worcester Sharks hit the ice as the new top affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Following three road games to start the season, Worcester’s home opener at the DCU Center is scheduled for Oct. 14 vs. Portland. New eras also begin in Albany, where the River Rats begin affiliations with the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes as well as the Colorado Avalanche, and in Lowell, where the Lowell Devils are the new affiliate of the New Jersey Devils.
The Hershey Bears begin defense of their 2006 Calder Cup championship in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 7, with their home opener at the Giant Center set for Sat., Oct. 21, against Bridgeport. The defending Western Conference champion Milwaukee Admirals open at home against Omaha on Oct. 7.
The Toronto Marlies and the city of Toronto will host the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic at Ricoh Coliseum, Jan. 28-29.
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the fifth year in a row, more than 6.3 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2005-06.