SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – With just two weeks until opening night on February 5, the American Hockey League announced its schedule for the Atlantic, North, Central, and Pacific Divisions on Friday at 12 p.m. ET. The schedule for the Canadian Division — consisting of Belleville, Laval, Manitoba, and Toronto — was delayed and “will be forthcoming at a later date”.
“As we prepare for a season unlike any other in our 85-year history, our priorities are first and foremost health and safety,” said AHL President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson. “Our main objective is to provide a safe environment for our players to continue their development towards a career in the National Hockey League.”
As previously reported by AHL insider Patrick Williams, teams will be playing anywhere from 24 to 44 games during their respective regular season campaigns.
In the three-team Atlantic Division, both the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Hartford Wolf Pack will be playing 12 home and 12 away games for 24 total. The Providence Bruins will add two more games to their schedule, playing the Utica Comets once on the road (Saturday, April 3) and once at home (Friday, April 16). All other Atlantic games will be interdivisional.
The North Division carries four teams playing 32 regular season matches: Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Binghamton has a 34-game schedule lined up, Hershey is booked for 36, and Lehigh Valley is slated for 38 games this year.
Instead of facing all five division rivals, teams in the North opted to play against three or four opponents within close proximity of their home arena. The one exception is the Rochester Americans, who will play the Central Division’s Cleveland Monsters six times (three home, three away) from February to May.
The six teams comprising the AHL’s Central Division in 2021 have anywhere from 28 to 38 games in their regular season campaigns.
Cleveland has the least, playing its 28 games amongst four divisional foes and Rochester. Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Rockford will play 30 matches this year (all Central opponents) and Iowa will skate in 34 matches this season. Texas is the frontrunner with 38 games scheduled between five opponents — two from the Central (Cleveland and Iowa) and three from the Pacific Division (Colorado, San Jose, and Tucson).
Looking for more AHL games during the regular season? The Pacific Division has you covered, with each of its eight teams averaging 40 scheduled games for 2021. Colorado and Ontario make up the low end with 38 games on tap. Bakersfield, Henderson, San Jose, Stockton, and Tucson are all scheduled for 40 games. San Diego is the outlier with 44 games planned, the highest number in the AHL.
Every Pacific Division team is scheduled to play against one another, minus a few exceptions. Colorado and San Jose will not face off against each other in the regular season. Bakersfield and Tucson will also not play against one another. As previously mentioned, the Central Division’s Texas Stars will instead play against Colorado, San Jose, and Tucson in lieu of a Pacific Division opponent.