From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
AHL ANNOUNCES ALIGNMENT, SCHEDULE FORMATS FOR 2005-06
Three new divisional foes, 2003 Calder Cup Finals rematch highlight ledgerHOUSTON, Texas
The American Hockey League has announced its conference and divisional alignment for 2005-06, in addition to the regular season and playoff schedule format. American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews made the announcements today from the AHL Board of Governors annual meeting at Amelia Island, Fla.
Houston, in a new-look West Division, will play a total of 14 opponents, including six it has never before faced in the regular season. The Aeros will take on the Hamilton Bulldogs for two games, the first meetings since Houston won the Calder Cup in seven exciting games in 2003.
The Aeros, Chicago Wolves, Milwaukee Admirals and San Antonio Rampage welcome three new teams to the seven-team West Division the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (Calgary), Iowa Stars (Dallas) and Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis). In addition to those three teams, the Aeros will face the Toronto Marlies (Toronto) and Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles) for the first time.
The Aeros will face their in-state foes from San Antonio 12 times (six home, six road), while playing 10 games (five home, five road) against Omaha, Iowa and Peoria. Houston has eight games (four home, four away) versus Chicago and Milwaukee, and four (two home, two road) against Manitoba, Cleveland, and Grand Rapids out of the North Division. The Aeros will face the following teams two times (one home, one road): Toronto, Hamilton, Manchester, Hartford and Rochester.
Its exciting to have traditional rivals like Chicago, Milwaukee and San Antonio, but also to add three brand new teams in our division, Aeros president Tom Garrity said. This will give Aeros fans new players to watch and to see more rivalries develop.
The new divisional alignment will mean better travel, which should mean better hockey for our fans, with more practice time and fewer injuries for our players, added Aeros general manager Tom Lynn.
Houston will play 14 of the AHLs other 26 teams in 2005-06. Thats an increase of one opponent from 2004-05. The Aeros will play 29 of their 40 home games and 58 of their 80 overall games against their division foes. Click here
for the AHL's entire schedule format.
The AHLs other divisions for 2005-06 are as follows: Atlantic (Albany, Hartford, Lowell, Manchester, Portland, Providence and Springfield); East (Binghamton, Bridgeport, Hershey, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton); North (Cleveland, Grand Rapids, Hamilton, Manitoba, Rochester, Syracuse and Toronto).
At the conclusion of the 2005-06 regular season, the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the four divisions, with one possible exception: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the East Division, it would cross over and compete in the East Division playoffs. The postseason format will again feature a divisional playoff, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals. All rounds will comprise best-of-seven series.
The AHLs 70th season, which will begin on Wed., Oct. 12, will comprise a total of 1,080 games, with each of the leagues 27 member teams playing an unbalanced 80-game schedule, including 40 home dates and 40 road dates and featuring both traditional and regional rivalries. The entire 2005-06 schedule is expected to be announced in late July.
In continuous operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. During the 2004-05 season, an all-time record of 7.1 million fans attended AHL games across North America.
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