Throwback openers, a return to All-Star Game roots and special logos and merchandise are all part of the American Hockey League’s plans to celebrate its upcoming 75th-anniversary season.
The rich history and storied traditions of the league will be commemorated beginning with three sets of home-and-home series featuring the AHL’s six senior-most cities. On Friday, Oct. 8, the Providence Bruins host the Springfield Falcons while the Lake Erie Monsters welcome in the Syracuse Crunch; Springfield and Syracuse will then host the back end of the sets on Saturday, Oct. 9. Also, the Rochester Americans host the Hershey Bears on Sunday, Oct. 10, before the teams switch venues to complete the home-and-home on Saturday, Oct. 16.
Providence, Springfield, Cleveland and Syracuse were among the league’s charter cities in 1936, with Hershey coming aboard in 1938 and Rochester hitting the ice in 1956.
The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will take place at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., on January 30-31, and will mark a return to an East vs. West format, pitting players from each of the AHL’s two conferences against each other. This will be the first East-West All-Star Game in the AHL since 1942, and the 2011 event will feature the league’s All-Stars wearing authentic throwback sweaters.
The AHL will also be using special logos to observe its 75th anniversary throughout the coming year. Designed by Derek Abraham of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the logos can be seen at theahl.com. All team uniforms throughout the 2010-11 season will include the anniversary logo as a jersey patch and a helmet decal, and several teams during the year will wear special vintage theme jerseys celebrating the AHL’s 75th anniversary.
A special line of 75th-anniversary merchandise will also be available at ahlstore.com beginning later this summer.
The American Hockey League was officially born in 1936 when the Canadian-American Hockey League and the International Hockey League merged to form the International-American Hockey League (the “International” would be dropped from the league’s name in 1940). Since 2001, the AHL has been the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams, with more than 85 percent of today’s NHL players having graduated from the American Hockey League. Through the years, the AHL has also been home to more than 100 future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.