SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2009 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded on Thursday, were attended by representatives from all 29 American Hockey League clubs and most National Hockey League teams, as well as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and USA Hockey president Ron DeGregorio. Representatives from Reebok, Royal Bank of Canada, NeuLion, the Professional Hockey Players’ Association and the ECHL were also on hand.
In addition to the announcements made earlier in the week, the Annual Meeting resulted in the following:
• The format for the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs has been approved. The playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions, with one possible exception: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the East Division, it would cross over and compete in the East Division playoffs. The 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs will again feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals. All rounds will comprise best-of-seven series.
• A change has been made to the shootout procedures so that no player may shoot twice until all eligible players have gone once. Previously, only five shooters per team were selected to participate in the entire shootout.
• One-minute minor penalties during overtime, instituted at the request of NHL general managers in 2008-09, have been eliminated. Penalties in overtime will be served in full.
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the eighth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2008-09.
The 2009-10 regular season is set to begin on Oct. 2. The complete schedule will be announced later this summer.