2017-18 AHL Alignment Approved

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The American Hockey League have announced the approval for the 2017-18 season’s divisional alignment. The change comes with the arrival of the Belleville Senators, Binghamton Devils, and Laval Rocket. In addition, the new alignment sees an alteration in the Western Conference’s Central Division with the Charlotte Checkers shifting out and into the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.

Press Release via AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that the league’s Board of Governors, convening for its Spring Meeting earlier this week in Chicago, Ill., has approved the following division alignment for the 2017-18 AHL season.

The format for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs will be finalized by the Board of Governors at its Annual Meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C., July 2-6, and the complete playing schedule for the 2017-18 regular season, which begins Oct. 6, will be announced this summer.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 16th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2016-17.

Also, the Milwaukee Admirals announced the teams that they will be facing for the 2017-18 season. The teams mentioned include the return of Eastern Conference opposition with the likes of the two teams the Admirals faced in their Calder Cup Finals appearances: the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Hershey Bears.

Press Release via Milwaukee Admirals:

Milwaukee, WI— American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that the league’s Board of Governors, convening for its Spring Meeting earlier this week in Chicago, Ill., has approved division alignment for the 2017-18 AHL season.

The Admirals will continue to play in the Central Division of the Western Conference, along with the Chicago Wolves, Cleveland Monsters, Grand Rapids Griffins, Iowa Wild, Manitoba Moose, and Rockford IceHogs. The division is unchanged from last season.

In addition to the divisional alignment, the Admirals unveiled their opponents for next season, which includes match-ups with the Hershey Bears and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Coincidently, those teams were the Admirals opponents in their two appearences in the Calder Cup Finals. The Admirals topped the Penguins 4-0 in 2004 and fell to the Bears 4-2 in the Finals in 2006. However, they haven’t played either team in the regular season since the 2001-02 campaign.
In addition, the Admirals will also face off with the Ontario Reign for the first time. The Reign, the primary affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, will be in their third year in the AHL next season and play in the Pacific Division. In addition to the Reign, the Admirals will also play the San Diego Gulls and the Stockton Heat from the Pacific.

The Admirals will continue to play a 76-game, unbalanced schedule which includes 38 home contests at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The Chicago Wolves will be the most common opponent at Panther Arena with six match-ups, while the Ads will host Grand Rapids, Iowa and Rockford each five times.

Milwaukee Admirals Opponent Breakdown:

Chicago Wolves…………6
Grand Rapids Griffins…..5
Iowa Wild……………….5
Rockford IceHogs……….5
Cleveland Monsters…….4
Manitoba Moose………..4
San Antonio Rampage….2
Texas Stars………………2
Hershey Bears…………..1
Ontario Reign…………..1
San Diego Gulls….……..1
Stockton Heat…………..1
WBS Penguins………….1

Personally, I am so happy to see the conferences clashing in-season once again. The last time that the Admirals played Eastern Conference opposition was the 2007-08 season when the Manchester Monarchs and Providence Bruins were on the schedule. That is a very welcome change and one that also sees the arrival of the Ontario Reign on the Admirals schedule for the first time as well.

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6 thoughts on “2017-18 AHL Alignment Approved”

  1. MUPANTHER: It’s I think mainly out of travel cost effectiveness for AHL organizations. In small doses, which I believe they’re testing by doing this next season, it isn’t so bad. But it isn’t like how MLB runs inter-league play and there are or should be chunks of the schedule dedicated to it. The AHL really groups teams into fighting divisional opponents or easier access opponents. I get some of that reasoning but when the Admirals run a three-in-three weekend that includes Milwaukee to Iowa and Milwaukee again while the Iowa Wild have the Sunday off… I don’t buy the cost effective nature or rest nature in the way the AHL can schedule at times. It’s always a bit screwy -but- I at least can see a better case for why East/West doesn’t happen that often or at all.

  2. Any idea if they will finally make the California and Arizona teams play 76 games? I don’t understand the argument why not anymore with how many there are. Why can’t they just play each other 8 more times if the travel cost is an issue?

    I know, I know this is all rhetorical.

  3. Sad to see us lose the Checkers from the Division, really made for some interesting hockey at the end of the year fighting Cleveland for the last spot.

  4. To Fan in the falls & MU Panther, I agree 100%. No excuse for the West Coast teams not to play 76 games. Let’s get it right and balanced.
    As for the East Coast teams, let them travel in groups and play “round robin” over a week between Milwaukee, Chicago, Rockford, Iowa, Grand Rapids, etc. Those teams then follow suit and go East. A system similar to the NFL where 5 teams rotate over a several year period.
    The only way things will change is from fans contacting the league office and voicing our thoughts. Emails and phone calls expressing intelligent thoughts can bring about change.

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