-- The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of regular-season games for the 2010-11 season, as the league celebrates its 75th year of operation. The season, comprising 1,200 games, begins on Fri., Oct. 8 and concludes on Sun., Apr. 10. Each of the league's 30 clubs will play 80 games, 40 at home and 40 on the road.
The AHL's 75th anniversary celebration begins with a special set of home-and-home series featuring the league's six senior-most cities. The Providence Bruins will take on the Springfield Falcons (Oct. 8 and 9), the Lake Erie Monsters will square off against the Syracuse Crunch (Oct. 8 and 9) and the Hershey Bears will face the Rochester Americans (Oct. 10 and 16) while wearing throwback uniforms that will hark back to the earliest days of the American Hockey League. 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 schedule features 10 nationally televised games, as CBC will air a package of Sunday afternoon contests featuring the six AHL affiliates of the NHL's Canadian-based clubs.
The 2010-11 AHL schedule also features games in six National Hockey League arenas, highlighted by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton taking on Hershey at the brand-new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Dec. 30, part of the festivities leading up to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Penguins' and Bears' parent teams, Pittsburgh and Washington. The Houston Aeros will help their parent club, the Minnesota Wild
, celebrate “Hockey Day Minnesota” on Feb. 12 with a game against the Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis) at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. On Feb. 17, AHL action will come to Calgary for the first time for an AHL version of the battle of Alberta, as the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary) take on Oklahoma City (Edmonton) at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Other NHL rinks hosting AHL action this season include the Bell Centre in Montreal, Scotiabank Place in Ottawa and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will take place at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., on Jan. 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 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). The AHL continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the ninth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2009-10. Through the years, the AHL has been home to more than 100 future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The entire 2010-11 AHL regular season schedule is attached here, and is also available for viewing at theahl.com.