AHL approves schedule unification plan with 72-game season in 2022-23

American Hockey League president and CEO Scott Howson. (Jason Franson/CP)

The AHL's Board of Governors has approved a schedule unification plan that will see all teams play a 72-game regular-season schedule beginning in 2022-23, the league announced Monday.

“I am very pleased that we were able to achieve a schedule of 72 games for all teams in the American Hockey League,” said AHL president and CEO Scott Howson said in a press release.

“In coming together to create a plan that is fair and equitable, our owners have demonstrated a commitment to the long-term strength of the league.”

The plan will also see changes implemented for the 2021-22 season, which is slated to kick off Oct. 15. Teams in the AHL's Atlantic, North and Central Divisions will have the option of playing either 76 or 72 games, while clubs in the Pacific Division will play 68 games.

There will also be an increase in the amount of teams that can qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs with details expected to announced later in the off-season.

Divisions, meanwhile, will be rejigged for next season from their 2020-21 configuration, with clubs north of the border leaving the five-team Canadian grouping. Instead, the Belleville Senators (Ottawa Senators), Laval Rocket (Montreal Canadiens) and Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) will play in the North Division, while the Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets) move to the Central, and the to-be-named Abbotsford, B.C, affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks will head to the Pacific along with the Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers) and Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames).

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