Sportsnet to air AHL games

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League and Sportsnet, entering the second year of a five-year relationship, announced today that Sportsnet will begin coverage of the AHL’s 77th season with three live, national Saturday night broadcasts this month.

On Oct. 13, the defending Western Conference champion Toronto Marlies (top affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs) will host the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) at 5 p.m. ET.

Then on Oct. 20, it’s an AHL doubleheader as the Marlies host the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens) at 7 p.m. ET and the Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks) visit the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames) at 10 p.m. ET.

All three games will air live across Canada in high definition on Sportsnet ONE. Hockey Central host Jeff Marek will be joined by analysts Brad May and John Shannon for pre-game and intermission analysis. Joe Bowen, Greg Millen and Paul Hendrick will provide the call from Toronto, while Rob Kerr, Charlie Simmer, John Garrett and Roger Millions bring home the action from Abbotsford.

“As we prepare to embark on an exciting 2012-13 season in the American Hockey League, we are thrilled to be teaming with Sportsnet to bring our sport’s best young talent into the homes of our fans across Canada,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer.

“There is a great hunger and passion for hockey across this country, and we are thrilled to partner with the American Hockey League to provide fans with access to premium, live hockey destination viewing on Saturdays for the coming weeks,” said Navaid Mansuri, Vice-President of Finance and Sports Programming, Rogers Media.

The American Hockey League, which begins its 77th season of play on Oct. 12, 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 88 percent of NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 11th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2011-12. Through the years, the AHL has been home to more than 100 future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, including legends such as Johnny Bower, Andy Bathgate, Gerry Cheevers, Larry Robinson, Patrick Roy and Brett Hull.