For years, AHL clubs have been playing various schedule lengths depending on which division they were in. In the 2018-19 season, for instance, the Pacific Division played just 68 games while the other three divisions hit the ice 76 times. Before that, even Pacific teams were playing in different amounts, with points percentage being used to determine standings. Now, the AHL has approved a plan for schedule unification by the 2022-23 season. All teams will follow a 72-game schedule at that point in a plan that league president Scott Howson called “fair and equitable.”
This upcoming season, the schedule will still be unbalanced, with the Pacific still playing just 68 games, while the other teams were given the option of 72 or 76-game schedules. The decisions were made as follows:
Grand Rapids Griffins
Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Hartford Wolf Pack
Abbotsford (team name not yet released)
Henderson Silver Knights
San Diego Gulls
San Jose Barracuda
The league has also announced the divisional alignment, which will be similar to the 2019-20 format but include Abbotsford and Henderson in the Pacific.
The number of teams qualifying for the Calder Cup Playoffs will also be increasing at some point, though the details on that have not yet been finalized or released.