ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat are moving to the American Hockey League’s North Division for the 2012-13 season, joining the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens), Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche), Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) and Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs).
After playing just the 2011-12 season as members of the West Division, the Heat have been moved back to the North Division where the team was positioned during their first two seasons in Abbotsford in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
This change was one of several to emerge from the AHL Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C., including Grand Rapid’s move to the Midwest Division and Charlotte’s switch to the renamed South Division.
The complete playing schedule for the 2012-13 regular season, which begins Oct. 12, will be announced later this summer. But the AHL made announcements on several other fronts today:
Video Review - The Board has approved the use of a video goal-review system for AHL games beginning with the 2012-13 season.
Rules Changes - The AHL has adopted the following rule changes recently approved for use in the National Hockey League:
• Rule 67.2 (“Handling the Puck”) now calls for a minor penalty “any time a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck.”
• Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”) states that “both players facing off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off.” Violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty for delay of game.
• The Board has also approved a test of a variation on Rule 81 (“Icing”) at the request of the NHL, that will, in the event of a potential icing violation, complete the play should a defending player be the first to reach the end zone face-off dots and provided the puck has crossed the goal line at that point. This rule will be in effect until Nov. 19, 2012, at which time its continued use will be determined by the Board. This was the only rules test approved.