… The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of regular-season games for the 2008-09 season, the league's 73rd year of operation. The season, comprising 1,160 games, begins on Wed., Oct. 8 and concludes on Sun., Apr. 12. Each of the league's 29 clubs will play 80 games, 40 at home and 40 on the road.
With a divisional format again in place for the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, nearly two-thirds of this year's schedule (756 of 1,160) will feature games between division rivals. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the 2009 postseason, with one possible exception: if the fifth-place team in the West Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the North Division, it would cross over and compete in the North Division playoffs.
For the ninth year in a row, the AHL's regular season opens with a game at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza, as the defending Eastern Conference champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play host to the Hershey Bears on Oct. 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET. Also on opening night, last year's regular-season points champions, the Providence Bruins, entertain the Lowell Devils at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
The Chicago Wolves begin defense of their 2008 Calder Cup championship in Houston on Oct. 11, with their home opener at Allstate Arena set for Sat., Oct. 18, against the Peoria Rivermen.
The Worcester Sharks and the city of Worcester, Mass., will host the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic at the DCU Center, Jan. 25-26.
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the seventh year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2007-08.
The entire 2008-09 AHL regular season schedule is available for viewing at theahl.com