AHL Announces Changes to 2021-22, 2022-23 Seasons

Plans include expanded playoffs and a 72-game season for all teams.

Yesterday, the American Hockey League (AHL) announced its plans for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. The news comes weeks after the league wrapped up its bumpy COVID season where three teams—including the Milwaukee Admirals—did not play and league executives faced backlash from Pacific Division players after they were the only division to host a postseason tournament.

Prior to the 2020-21 season, each AHL team played 76 games per season, except for the Pacific Division which played 68-game seasons. Next year, ten teams will play a 76-game schedule, 12 teams will play a 72-game season, and nine teams will play a 68-game season:

2021-22 AHL Season Schedule

76 Games72 Games68 Games
Chicago (CAR)Belleville (OTT)Abbotsford (VAN)
Cleveland (CBJ)Bridgeport (NYI)Bakersfield (EDM)
Grand Rapids (DET)Charlotte (FLA)Colorado (COL)
Hershey (WSH)Hartford (NYR)Henderson (VGK)
Lehigh Valley (PHI)Iowa (MIN)Ontario (LAK)
Milwaukee (NSH)Laval (MTL)San Diego (ANA)
Rochester (BUF)Manitoba (WPG)San Jose (SJS)
Springfield (STL)Providence (BOS)Stockton (CGY)
Syracuse (TBL)Rockford (CHI)Tucson (ARI)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (PIT)Texas (DAL)
Toronto (TOR)
Utica (NJD)

Next year, the league’s 31 teams will return to the four-division set-up: North (7), Central (7), Pacific (9), and Atlantic (8). The Admirals’ Central Division will also include the Chicago Wolves, Grand Rapids Griffins, Iowa Wild, Manitoba Moose, Rockford IceHogs, and Texas Stars. Note that four of the Admirals’ division rivals will play four fewer games in 2021-22.

Beginning with the 2022-23 seasons, all AHL teams will play a 72-game season, eliminating the use of points percentage for league standings. The divisional alignment for that year, when the AHL will welcome its 32nd club (Palm Springs), has yet to be determined, although four eight-team divisions would seemingly make the most sense.

The AHL also announced that the Calder Cup playoffs will be expanded to include more teams moving forward; however, details have yet to be released.

The Milwaukee Admirals will open their 2021-22 season on October 16.