American Hockey League Update


Ben Grieco, Staff Writer

The American Hockey League (AHL), the league which both the Utica Comets and the Syracuse Crunch play for, is the developmental league of the National Hockey League. Recently, there were two conferences, the East and the West. The conferences were divided into three divisions. The East had the Atlantic, Northeast (Syracuse’s division), and the East divisions; while the West had the North (Utica’s division), Midwest, and the West divisions.

On January 29, many California hockey fans got the news of a life time. Five of the NHL teams will be moving their farm-teams to California, to cut down budget costs of cross-country flights to send players back and forth between the NHL and the AHL.

The five AHL teams that are moving are: The Norfolk (VA) Admirals, with their affiliate being the Anaheim Ducks; The Worcester (MA) Sharks, with their affiliate being the San Jose Sharks; The Adirondack (NY) Flames, with their affiliate being the Calgary Flames; The Oklahoma City (OK) Barons, with their affiliate being the Edmonton Oilers; and The Manchester (NH) Monarchs, the affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

The five teams have already determined where they will be playing as well. The Admirals will be playing in San Diego. The Sharks will move to San Jose, but will change their name “for obvious reasons,” said the Chief Operating Officer of the San Jose Sharks NHL team. The Flames will be moving to Stockton. Moving to Bakersfield will be the Barons. Finally, the Monarchs will be heading to Ontario, CA.

According to the NHL, the relocation of teams won’t affect the Vancouver Canucks, as their affiliate are the Utica Comets, and it also won’t affect the Arizona Coyotes, with their affiliate being the Portland (MN) Pirates.

The AHL hasn’t announced what division or conference the teams will be moved to; they will announce the realignment in the summer time.

According the Dan D’Uva, the Radio Broadcaster of the Syracuse Crunch, “…you would certainly expect the teams who’ve made to California will make up a division in the Western Conference.”

As for an update with the American Hockey League, we have passed the All-Star Break, and headed into the final stretch for the AHL Playoffs, which are in April. Many teams look promising for the playoffs.

So far, leading the Eastern Conference are: the Manchester Monarchs leading the Atlantic Division; the Syracuse Crunch leading the Northeast Division; and the Hershey Bears leading the East Division. The Western Conference leaders are: the Utica Comets leading the North Division; the Milwaukee Admirals leading the Midwest Division; and the Oklahoma City Barons leading the West Division.

Focussing more on the Syracuse Crunch, they have received the short end of the stick on their goaltending situation. Rookie all-star, Andrej Vasilevkskiy, was called up to their mother team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. We are now left with Allen York, and Kristers Gudlevskis. Also, Evgeni Nabokov, who was released by the Lightning and placed on waivers. However, he’s been scratched from every game. This leaves a huge hole in the Crunch playoffs roster.

The rest of the AHL season looks to be promising, as do the up-and-coming seasons with the new announcement of the moving of teams. Many teams are getting into the final stretch, and can taste the Calder Cup; and making room for it on the bus ride back home.