The Board of Governors for the American Hockey League has approved a schedule modification plan beginning with the 2011-12 season designed to help ease the demands of a taxing season.
Under the plan, the regular-season playing schedule will be reduced to 76 games; the AHL playing calendar will be extended by one week; all sequences in which teams play four games in five nights will be eliminated; and the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs will be reduced to a best-of-five series.
"As our league has grown in recent years, we have been working closely with the National Hockey League and the Professional Hockey Players' Association to seek a solution to what has become a very onerous playing schedule," said David Andrews, President and CEO of the American Hockey League.
"As our league has grown and our game has become faster and more physical, the wear and tear on our players has begun to affect player development and at times the quality of competition. These steps are intended to provide a safer environment for our players through increased rest and recovery time, and also to provide our fans with an even higher caliber of play as a result of reduced player fatigue."
Andrews' letter to AHL fans can be read here.
Celebrating its historic 75th anniversary season in 2010-11, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams, with more than 85 percent of today's NHL players and 22 of 30 NHL head coaches having graduated from the AHL. Through the years, the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.