Today, the American Hockey League announced schedule unification plans approved by its board of governors for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 regular seasons with the ultimate goal being all teams playing 72 games in 2022-23.
In the 2021-22 season, which is slated to begin on Oct. 15, 2021, teams from the Atlantic, North, and Central Divisions will play either 72 or 76 games. Teams in the Pacific Division will play 68 games. Furthermore, there will be an increase in the number of teams qualifying for the Calder Cup Playoffs each year but those plans have yet to be announced.
The AHL Board of Governors has approved a schedule unification plan that will see every team play 72 games beginning in 2022-23.— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) June 7, 2021
Alignment and schedule lengths for 2021-22 have also been set.
Details: https://t.co/RY25ya38VC pic.twitter.com/FFoKPfux0W
The Hartford Wolf Pack will be in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division with the Bridgeport Islanders, the Providence Bruins, the Hershey Bears, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Charlotte Checkers, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and the Springfield Thunderbirds. That means the Wolf Pack are one of the teams that has an option between a 72 or 76 game season in 2021-22.
Last season, the Wolf Pack were one of just three teams in the Atlantic Division — the others being Providence and Bridgeport — after several AHL teams opted out of playing. Hartford played 24 of its 25 scheduled games this season.
The Wolf Pack haven’t had a 76 game season since the 2018-19 campaign. That year, every AHL team spare those in the Pacific Division had a 76-game schedule. The teams in the Pacific played 68 games. This plan to have every AHL team play a 72-game season brings the AHL’s season structure in closer alignment with the NHL’s.
The playing schedule — which will include the Wolf Pack’s decision to have 72 or 76 games — and the postseason format for next season are expected to be announced this summer.